I’ll admit that Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death was one of the very first celebrity deaths to hit me hard. And the only explanation I can give is that he happened to appear or star in some of my very favorite movies, from ‘Synecdoche, New York’ to ‘Happiness’ to ‘Punch-Drunk Love.’ He was somehow able to inhabit vastly different characters while still bringing his inherent likability to each role.
Then there’s the weird trend of Hoffman being typecast as “gross.” He excelled at playing disgusting characters, inside and out, perhaps aided by his real-life struggle with drug abuse and an arm’s-length relationship with fame.
But one of my greatest sadnesses surrounding his death is that we have yet to find someone else to fill that crucial role of depicting some very nasty tendencies of the human race. Instead we’ve continued on in the proud tradition of taking an attractive, run-of-the-mill male actor and placing them in a vaguely creepy role. You’ve got Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler,’ Bill Skarsgard in ‘IT,’ and Jared Leto as a disappointing Joker in ‘Suicide Squad.’
I anxiously await the rise of a filthy actor/actress who looks like a normal person and also has an immense talent for showing us the ugly parts of ourselves.