With three Oscar nominations and one win, Philip Seymour Hoffman was a dynamic acting whirlwind who might have been well on his way to becoming the female version of Meryl Streep (in terms of thespian decorations) when he passed away tragically in 2014 from a drug overdose. The actor was a relatively unknown when Paul Thomas Anderson cast him in his first feature film Hard Eight (a.k.a. Sydney) and the pair would work together four more times with Hoffman achieving an Oscar nomination for his work in PTA’s The Master.
Anderson stopped by Marc Maron’s WTF podcast this weekend, and Maron — who seemed very astute and educated on Anderson’s body of work — questioned him on his entire filmography. Some great stories were revealed during their almost two-hour conversation, including a hilarious story about PTA’s dad and Tim Conway getting drunk and playing a prank on a police officer, a laugh-out-loud anecdote concerning Ricky Jay’s reaction to one of Burt Reynold’s ad-libs on Boogie Nights, why Anderson cast Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love (“I loved the movies he was making at the time.”), and so much more.
If you’ve ever wanted to know the impetus of the rain of frogs scene at the end of Magnolia, it basically was a metaphor for Anderson’s emotional state when he heard terrible news from his dad’s doctor. “Hearing that your dad is going to die is as bizarre as hearing that frogs are falling from the sky.”
When the conversation turned to Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anderson gushed about how he fell in love with the actor after he first saw him on the big screen. It’s clear that PTA didn’t want to plunge too deep into his memories of his favorite co-worker and muse, but he did divulge the reason why he cast him in so many of his films.
When I saw him for the first time in Scent of a Woman, I just knew what true love was. I knew what love at first sight was. It was the strangest feeling sitting in a movie theater and thinking ‘he’s for me and I’m for him.’ …Something happened when I saw him.
“That’s beautiful,” Maron said.
(Go to 1:10:40 for PTA’s comments on Hoffman.)