Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hats off to Hoffman...

"Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself." - Jeanne Moreau

Mr. Hoffman is a personal hero of mine. He has time and time again proven his abilities as a versatile actor. He's in a place in his career now where he has many more choices in the roles he takes then when he began in the business.

Rather than coasting on continually recreating his previous characters in earlier films or taking high-paying and "likable" roles he focuses more on work that will challenge him on projects that are far removed from the glitz of big Hollywood titles.

His most memorable roles are all quite diverse but the majority of them deal with revelations of deep, personal flaws. Often, they are people who we would not want to know in real life or people we admire and like greatly but never realize what troubles them in the depths of their soul.

In "Happiness" he made our stomach turn not just because of his perverse behavior but because we can all relate on some level to acting irrationally or inappropriately because of great self doubt.

In "Capote" we saw him transform himself, not just physically or through external mannerisms but we got the opportunity to see him completely inhabit an American icon and reveal aspects we may never have thought to look for.

But above all else these performances are honest reflections of feelings, impulses and shortcomings that exist in every human being.

He also of course takes little brakes to have some fun. It was a lot of fun to see Philip portray a psychotic arms dealer and slap Tom Cruise around in the last Mission Impossible. If you have a chance also check out his guest role on "Strangers with Candy".

The characters he has portrayed: often soft-spoken and weak or threatened and powerless may have painted his public image as such.

This is not the case. He is not a very tall man but he can have an intimidating presence. He's a big guy, and quite strong. I feel he could have very easily settled into intimidating, tough guy roles or kind, fatherly John Goodman-esque roles. Truth be told he could have settled into any number of personas and sold it to the world as character acting.
The point is he is always trying something different or difficult. Something challenging, not easy. And that's what we have to do as well.

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