The first time I saw him was in the movie Next Stop Wonderland, an indie, back in 1998. He was overweight and shlumpy. But he stood out. He left me wondering about him, wanting to see more of him. And I did, in Boogie Nights as an isecure wannabe, as a music critic in Almost Famous, as a stunning Capote, chemistry professor in Savages, as a priest in Doubt, as a coach in Moneyball, as a guru in The Masters. And yesterday, he played his last role. And selfishly, I felt a little stab of pain when I read that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an overdose in his New York apartment, angry at the future art I’d never see him make, and madder still the way drugs can grab hold of some people like a barnacle grabs a rock, like red wine inhabits a white shirt, like a race car driver holds onto a steering wheel for his very life.
They say he had 21 years clean and then. And then. With so much to live for artistically, and three young kids, what is it that could make a person play Russian Roulette with drugs? A hard wiring that can’t be denied? What? I wonder what.
My dad was an alcoholic. And I never understood him either.
Grateful for the extraordinary performances that Phillip Seymour Hoffman left behind. I’m sad for all he won’t ever see or do or be.