If you’re lucky you have someone, not something, but an actual living person that inspires you. A singularity. This is different than being inspired by the myriad of human actions that elicit goose bumps. I’m talking about a single soul that for whatever reason is a beacon of some sort. For me that beacon was Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I’m an actor by trade and training and Mr. Hoffman has long been the example to which I strived to achieve. My measuring stick. He never once disappointed me. Even in low brow, action movies he displayed disciplined, balanced choices. Most importantly he always lived believably under imaginary circumstances. His unique and unmistakable cadence of was ever present. His point of view always exciting and thrilling. And that is what drew me to him.
What sets actors apart are their points of view, how they see the word. Its this POV that informs their choices. It is through the lens of point of view that an actor sees, understands, and reacts to the world. We as an audience probably cannot decipher an actors point of view from their choices. We can only marvel at the mystery of by what point of view their choices are borne. I don’t even know if I would have liked Mr. Hoffman should we have met. I do know that i feel like I’m swimming in cold water trying to catch my breath. The glee of my hometown team playing in the Super Bowl has been knocked out of me.
I remember vividly sitting in the upper mezzanine for a performance of Long Days Journey. Phill’s first scene was in the kitchen which barley came into view onstage. I strained my neck and twisted my shoulders toward the sound of his voice and never regretted the $125 ticket price for nose bleed seats.
I miss you Mr. Hoffman the way I would miss someone I knew. Maybe I did know you in some way. In a way uncluttered with “I’m sorries” or mistakes, or even happy memories of times shared. Your choices as an actor left us a road map of who you were.
A map that is far shorter than should have been but a road I can travel as often as I like. That last, final choice is one that robbed us all of your brilliance. For that I am angry with you. For stealing from us all the characters that could have been.
Goodbye. And to you other muses. Put it down, don’t swallow. Don’t try to get away with it. Let us love you. You deserve it. You’re worth it. Believe it or not just being alive can bring great comfort to others.