Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dear Mr. Hoffman

I've been thinking on your tragic passing for several days now. Film clips a traffic jam in my brain. There have been both puff pieces and erudite articles analyzing the hell of drug addiction. Discourse on personal responsiblity. A variety of responses from fans and non-fans. Overwhelming, really.

I never met you but imagined what a meeting would be like. Maybe you would've been shy and modest. Self-deprecating. I was around many actors in my 20s and for the myriad of personas I saw a similar trait among them - a proclivity for the mercurial. Unpredictable. I also had some professors in grad school like that but never mind.  If I caught you on the wrong day perhaps you would've dressed me down. We've all heard the stories of celebrity meetings, those times when an autograph request is met with derision. It hurts, but many of us don't know what it's like to be hounded by the press. How would I respond after a long day of press junkets and difficult directors? After all, you did work with Mike Nichols a few times.

You seemed like a complex person. Your performances were, to me, near flawless. My first awareness of you was in SCENT OF A WOMAN, where you played a prankster collegiate. The eventual target of Al Pacino's famous speech. That character, in some oblique way, seemed akin to Scotty J., that sad child you played in BOOGIE NIGHTS, still my favorite PT Anderson film and one of your best turns. You and Anderson did some amazing work, right up to THE MASTER. I was looking forward to more collaborations.

I cite many of the films others have: ALMOST FAMOUS, MAGNOLIA, CAPOTE, DOUBT. I was highly amused by your smug portrayal in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY; I often imitated Freddie's measured, growly snobbery ("Who wears a corduroy jacket in Italy?"). I recently saw your nice work in OWNING MAHOWNY, the true story of a gambling addict. You were natural, you had a gift, but you worked at it, honed it with the attention any craftsman would. I was and am pissed that you left, sir. I am frustrated that I can't understand why. I am blessed to have never suffered the sort of addiction that snuffs a life. I can't begin to reconcile it. I don't know what else to say. I hope you have found eternal peace.

And I still love this clip.........

Rest in Peace.
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