Remembering The Time Philip Seymour Hoffman Threw Himself Off A Roof Just To Spoof A Mattress Commercial

By: 02.04.14  •  5 Comments


Tributes to Philip Seymour Hoffman have been pouring in since his untimely death, and rightfully so. The man was an icon — one of the finest actors we’ll ever have the privilege of seeing. We’ve already run through our favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman scenes, but his on-screen moment I’ll remember most didn’t even make it into one of Hoffman’s films.

While filming Paul Thomas Anderson’s excellent Punch Drunk Love, Hoffman embarked on the challenge of recreating a famous 1980s video in which a guitar-strumming, leather jacket-wearing mattress salesman tries to jump from the roof of a trailer onto a tower of mattresses that are piled on top of a car. The attempt went as poorly and painfully as you might expect, and the commercial outtake became one of the original viral videos (passed around via VHS, of course). Here’s the original clip:

And below is Hoffman’s version, in which his character, the hilariously terrifying mattress salesman (and owner of an underground phone sex operation) Dean Trumbell, executes the same painful fall. It’s nearly identical — from Hoffman’s gutsy performance to the setting to the people rushing to his aid — but the scene wasn’t included in the movie. Which means Philip Seymour Hoffman threw himself from a goddamn trailer roof just to film a DVD extra.

Godspeed, you magnificent bastard.

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