Greetings everyone and welcome to a special tribute blog. This blog, should have been about meeting Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Steven Tyler, 2 weeks ago in LA. It also could have been about my entire first experience, attending and covering the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, with Dig In Magazine. Instead it is about one event from Sundance. Just hours after arriving to Park City, our first carpet we covered at Sundance, was “A Most Wanted Man”. http://www.diginmag.com/2014/02/01/sundance-2014-a-most-wanted-man-philip-seymour-hoffman
The films star, Philip Seymour Hoffman, lost his battle against addiction, last weekend in New York City. Losing Philip, we lost one of the greatest character actors of all my generation. Philip never had the looks of a Brad Pitt. He had to make it solely on his acting abilities. The first time I saw Philip, on the big screen was in 1992 in “Scent of a Woman”. It was the cult classic “The Big Lebowski”, where he really got my attention.
My first time photographing Philip, was at the “Moneyball,” premiere, where he played Art Howe, the manager of the Oakland Athletics. Not only did I photograph “Moneyball”, but I also was an extra in a crowd scene with Hoffman. (I didn’t make the final cut). Philip walked the baseball field shaped carpet that night waving to excited fans, that lined on the streets of Oakland to watch the celebrity arrivals.
Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the film “Capote”. In addition to Hoffman’s Best Actor Oscar, he was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award three times, for his roles in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2008), “Doubt” (2009) and “The Master” (2013). He recently appeared in Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Philip, not only had “A Most Wanted Man” at the festival, he also had “God’s Pocket”, (which I was lucky enough to attend one of the Sundance screenings) screen there. The movie was filmed in my hometown of Yonkers, New York. The picture was another example of what Philip Seymour Hoffman brought to a film. He had a way of playing the ordinary average Joe, but making you care and root for him. He never played simple roles. It didn’t matter if it was on the stage or on the screen he mastered each of his roles and was responsible for creating amazing characters. He had a way of just diving into the character and always brought something special to each performance.
When I heard about his death yesterday, all that I could think of was he was only 5 years older than me. I thought of the shoot in Utah, just two weeks ago to the day. I called the Owner/Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Dig In Magazine Cindy Maram, and found out it was a heroin overdose. For the rest of the day, I kept having emotions ranging for sad to angry. Then I had to remind myself, how close I came to not being around to write this. Thankfully, I never faced the same addiction as Philip, but had to fight my personal demons and addictions to overcome.
In the media and in public, we tend to see celebrities in a certain light. We don’t realize that just because your famous doesn’t make you suffer from the same fears and weakness that is seen in every day life. I wanted to write about how he lived not how he died. I saw different postings about how he died and peoples reactions to it on social media. If you haven’t faced addiction and depression, it’s impossible for a fan, writer or critic to understand. For me my love of music, movies, and writing helped me escape safely into my own world and found a way to survive. Some people just can’t do it on their own and need help. If you can’t talk with a loved one or friend see someone or checkout these sites: http://www.drugabuse.gov or http://www.recovery.org