When are we truly inspired or touched by something? When we feel a deep and real emotional connection to it. That's what Philip Seymour Hoffman did. He wasn't just an actor. He was an artist. Someone who painted with the deepest and most colorful aspects of the human spirit, and gave us a glimpse at our most raw selves.
Hoffman was tragically found dead in his New York apartment yesterday morning. At the young age of 46, he suffered from a drug overdose. Another actor lost to his own demons and taken from us far too soon.
We all knew Hoffman. He fully transformed into these living, breathing, characters over the decades, that were so real, they sat in the same room with you.
Out of the countless incredible roles he took on, one of my personal favorites was Lester Bangs in "Almost Famous". That's about the time when my love for music journalism blossomed and Lester understood. I was chasing my greatest passion and entering a world with very little certainty, and he got it. He got me.
Hoffman wasn't afraid to explore the whole spectrum of human personas, including some that weren't exactly likable or good. As seen in "The Savages", "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead", "Doubt", and many of his Paul Thomas Anderson films like "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia", he showcased an incredibly real depiction of the people we often hoped we would never become. Yet through the depth he brought to these roles, you still understood and often even empathized with their motivations, their torment, and their story.
The light balances the dark and Hoffman also knew how to do comedy. In his small but wonderful role in "The Big Lebowksi" or "Along Came Polly", it was hard to resist that charming smile and lovable goofiness.
In 2005, Hoffman won his first Academy Award for "Capote", where he fully transformed into the famous writer, with all his complicated layers, before our very eyes. He was nominated for an Academy Award a total of four times, the most recent being for another Anderson project, "The Master", opposite Joaquin Phoenix.
I could literally mention dozens of other inspired performances of his. I have no doubt that he would have gone on to win more Oscars throughout the course of his career. He truly was one of the best, always raising the bar on himself.
We recently saw Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". We learned that his work was nearly complete on "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" and that he was shy only seven days from wrapping "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2." The films will still be releasing on November 21, 2014 and November 20, 2015 and we're pleased to learn we will be graced with his incredible presence on the big-screen in both.
Addiction is a very real, scary, and dangerous thing. After 23 years of sobriety, literally half his life, his darkness got the best of him. That's why we feel even more cheated from his passing because it's proven time and again, that some of the most talented, are often the most tortured.
Out of all the quotes and reactions to the tragic passing of Hoffman, I feel Jim Carrey's was the most profound and poetic. On twitter he wrote, "Dear Philip, a beautiful beautiful soul. For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much. Bless your heart."
I hope you find peace now, Mr. Hoffman. Know that your artistry inspired and captivated the hearts and minds of people around the world. You will be sorely missed but your legacy will live on in the decades of film you blessed us with.
R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman