Boogie Nights, The Master, and The Talented Mr. Ripley would still be great movies without Philip Seymour Hoffman. Maybe not as great, but still great. The same cannot be said for Along Came Polly, a bad movie that I love and have watched approximately 26 times for the scene where PSH yells “let it rain!” while playing basketball. That’s cinema, folks.
Seymour Hoffman belongs on any list of the greatest actors ever (he’s even great when relegated to the background), so if he gave advice, other actors listened. When asked in a recent interview with Canoe to share the “best advice” he’s ever received, Ethan Hawke (a pretty good actor himself!) shared something Seymour Hoffman told him:
“Philip Seymour Hoffman used to say that you have to do this job and maintain a sense of humor, that we’re just a bunch of kids putting on a play. It’s all a goof. But, also, treat it like life and death and a game that matters. If you can hold both those truths at the same time then you can really have an interesting career.”
Seymour Hoffman followed his own advice because he had an interesting career, going from Oscar fare like Capote and Doubt to big-budget franchises (Mission: Impossible III and The Hunger Games) to… that scene from Happiness. You know the one.
Good advice from a great actor.