Tag Archive: philip seymour hoffman


 

darkknightdetective

In my actor/writer/producer cycle, 2016 has been a writing year.

But not all that long ago, I was asked to come in and read for a Shakespeare play.  I’ve had a monologue from Othello in my utility belt for years; this was the first time as a professional someone asked to see it.

Earned a callback but the part in that production ultimately went to someone else.  I wasn’t remotely upset. Like I said, I’ve been focused on other things this year.  More than that though, just knowing I have my Shakespeare strong enough to book now gives me a lot of confidence for the long term.

(While I’m talking about it, there’s a great piece in the Atlantic this week about what ‘Method acting’ means right now in Hollywood.  I’m a Method guy myself so I don’t agree with all of it.  But I think it’s a fair critique to say for every Heath or Denzel who goes away to learn accents and skills so their characters instincts appear ‘natural’ by the time the audience sees it, there’s a ‘Tropic Thunder’ element that’s been attached to Method acting too.  And there’s no doubt in my mind the most likable and respected actresses we have couldn’t get away with half of the questionable behavior some of the guys get away with and we’d write it off as ‘they’re just so into their craft and their character, you have to take this as part of it.’  Anyway…)

Beyond writing, 2016 has always been designed for me as a year for the detective work.  I’m ‘active’ obviously, but most of my time has been spent doing research.  Who’s working on what? What agencies represents who? Who doesn’t get along with each other? How does my brand fit into all of this? (I’m already sick and tired of that word but, business.)

My Method lets me play several different things well, but some parts just naturally fit better. Starfleet Captain? LAPD Detective? Morgan Freeman? The handsome black professional in an interracial relationship?  I’ve played all these men and played them well.  Crack dealer? Car jacker? The heartthrob who has at least one scene with no shirt on? I…can play these roles too.  But it’s rarely what I project or what people see when I walk into the room. (And just so we’re absolutely clear, I’m cool with a lot of the guys who play these roles, so this isn’t a disrespect thing.  My point is Philip Seymour Hoffman, rest his soul, had a nice long career playing all the parts within his type and Channing Tatum is having a nice long career playing all the different parts that fit his type.  There’s room for all of us.)

I didn’t come into this ‘artform’ thinking that I’d need the analytical part of my mind as much as I do, but…business.  Like most things in this town though, you hang around long enough, you figure out what your place is.

I’ve found mine.

Advertisements

Philip Seymour Hoffman

 

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman-1527808

When I started on the path that I’m on, I was told to put into a sentence ‘who’ I wanted to be.  That sentence with minor edits was ‘A guy who can be anything from the 2nd to 5th player in a blockbuster/genre piece, but who can easily be the headliner in a smaller, character driven ‘indie’ project.’

So with that sentence, you know the guys I admire as ‘character leading men’.  Jeffrey Wright. Don Cheadle. Gary Oldman.  And the great actor who died today.

Today was a double stomach punch, the Actor and the Film Geek is disappointed he won’t see any more Philip Seymour Hoffman performances.  Some of you are still putting the name to the face, but if you’ve watched movies in the past 25 years, you know the face.  And you’ve watched his posture, his cadence, his accent; all the different types of research character guys love to do when they get a new project and can create a role from the inside out.  I hear he was equally amazing on stage; sad to say that’s something else I want to get experience seeing him do.  It would seem his demons caught up with him, even after he fought them off for awhile.  Very sad to hear.

I’ll leave you with this, one of his most memorable performances.  You get:

a) the endearing Beta who needs the approval of the Alpha

b) the ‘this is getting really creepy really fast’ stalker

c) the shocking ‘I apologize…but only because you’re upset since I really want this to happen’ desperate lover

d) and the sympathetic ‘being friend zoned by someone who you have a one way love affair with’ lonely man.

IN TWO MINUTES!!!!

Rest in Peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman. You will be sorely missed.

 

 

christoph-waltz-django-unchained

Today let’s look at the performances up for top Wingman this year.  The nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are…

  • Alan Arkin in Argo
  • Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Who Should Win: Only one of the nominees in this category actually plays the title character in the film they’re nominated for.  So why is Hoffman not in the Lead category?  Much better chance of winning (we’ll come back to that later this week).

Who I Want to Win: At this point in the game, there’s maybe…5 people left in the Game who I ‘might’ get starstruck by meeting.  And Bobby is one of them.  And to be fair in the context of his career, the most pleasant part of DeNiro’s performance was seeing him have something to do and not just show up to collect a check.

Who Will Win: Let’s keep the wide open theme of this year’s awards going and say this is where Lincoln gets some love.  Not the only major award it will win I imagine…

Tomorrow, back to the ladies…

Image

 

Usually it’s hype to say things are wide open, based off of the nominations though, it might be more true this year.

Let’s start with who the Gold Guy sent on the Walk of Shame this morning: DiCaprio (Django), Affleck (Argo), and Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) were all considered locks.  No disrespect to those who were nominated, but frankly I’m as shocked as everyone else they didn’t get invited to the dance for Best Supporting Actor and Best Director respectively.  Their films are all recognized but damn; so that was the inspiration for this post’s title.  We do have a serious film geek collection of movies this year.  I hope the Academy isn’t putting all the pressure for ratings on Seth McFarlane…

That said, when I look at the ‘major’ awards, I see a ton of familiar names: Denzel, Spielberg, Hoffman, DeNiro and Day-Lewis.  Only one of those names I thought gave possibly their best career performance, but we’ll have that argument another day (reward for this year’s work vs. ‘lifetime achievement’).

Back to the film geek point, nine Best Picture nominees this year.  Again, speaks to this being a year without a ‘Titanic’; it also means things can get real interesting real fast when (theoretically) the vote can be split nine ways.  Not a math major obviously, but it seems like you could win Best Picture this year with a very small percentage of the overall vote.  So, could be looking at another ‘Crash’ type year when that last envelope is opened, just putting it out there…

Alright, as far as we’re concerned in this space…I’ve given you 3 reviews, 2 more for sure coming Sunday and Monday, so I owe you 4 more before the show.  That’s doable.  Don’t know yet if I’ll be doing previews with Mr. Thomas like we’ve done in the past, but we shall see.

Have a good weekend.  Mamba out.

 

J. Edgar

 

I heard a lot of mild criticism when J. Edgar came out so I didn’t have my hopes real high when I finally got a chance to see it.  It’s not a bad film by any means, but against the best work of either Clint Eastwood or Leonardo DiCaprio, this film definitely falls into both men’s second tier.

The film tells the story of the rise of the F.B.I. and its controversial figurehead, J. Edgar Hoover.  This film isn’t an action flick by any stretch, so the sections about the Bureau (like the Lindbergh case) aren’t dramatically interesting until a third act revelation.  Like most character studies, this film revolves around the relationship the main character has with others.  In this case it’s Hoover’s relationship with his mother (an icy Judi Dench), and his ‘right hand man’ at the Bureau (played by Armie Hammer).  The real Hoover was supposedly a closeted homosexual, and where Eastwood’s film really shines is in exploring both why J. Edgar was repressed in his sexuality and even more telling, how living a secret life possibly opened the door to an obsession with other people’s secrets.  If you want to go all the way with it, does selling the world on one big lie make it easier to sell others (including yourself) on a hundred other smaller lies over the course of a lifetime?  It’s an interesting thought.

You can add me to the chorus of those who think Leo was miscast in this role, but can’t say it was a bad business decision.  Even with Clint’s pedigree, I doubt Warners would have signed off on Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the title character (but that would have been something!)

 

The Ides of March

George Clooney’s latest, ‘The Ides of March’, is about a young idealistic campaign manager who finds his ideals challenged and must make the choice of whether to stick to his guns or ‘play the game’.  It’s a good film and I’ve gone on record of being someone who drinks the Clooney Kool-Aid. But having said all that, this is my third favorite film of his as a director (behind Good Night and Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). The real irony of that statement is I still consider this one of the better films I’ve seen this calendar year.  Maybe it’s because at this point the studio system only gives us five adult dramas a year, but The Ides of March was film geek crack if that’s the case.

I was in a hotel room last week when I caught Clooney having a sitdown interview with Charlie Rose.  He claims at this point in his Hollywood career, he’s just a character actor.  That’s a tragic statement that probably has a lot of truth in it from a business point of view; regardless for the film he’s made here it makes complete sense.  The cast is headlined by Ryan Gosling, who’s surrounded by Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and Clooney himself. That…is not chopped liver for character actors.  At all.  So why didn’t I like this movie more?

Hard to say.  I don’t have a strong like or dislike for Gosling; right down to the name I always think of him as a more serious version of Ryan Reynolds (which is not meant as a jab at either one of them).  But maybe not having a strong connection to him hurt him in this role.  He pulled off the character arc just fine; but if my instinct is telling me that a young Matt Damon or Affleck (or others) would have killed that role, maybe that’s not for the best.  Or maybe I’m just being nitpicky cause I really loved Clooney’s other directorial efforts to this point.

More posts later in the week.

Best Supporting Actor

 

downey

The nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role are:

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk”
  • Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
  • Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

What might happen: (chuckling to myself…)

Who will probably win: Hee hee hee…

Who I’m cheering for: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA