Philip Seymour Hoffman – The King of Uncool

Philip-Seymour-Hoffman_lI was pretty shocked when the news broke about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, which came as a surprise to me because celebrity deaths don’t usually have that much of an effect on me.

I mean really, who are celebrities to us? We never hang out with them, we never get to find out what they’re really like, we just project ourselves onto them and think we know them when we don’t actually have a clue.

And yet I actually was genuinely saddened by Hoffman’s death. Firstly because he leaves behind a wife and three kids, but secondly because he was a phenomenal actor who had an uncanny ability to connect with his audience.

There’s a line from Almost Famous that’s being quoted a lot in the articles I’ve been reading about Hoffman that I think is really fitting when it comes to describing him and his body of work:

The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.

I’ve thought about that line a lot since Hoffman’s passing because though he was a lot of things during his time on this rock, I don’t think you could ever call him cool.



Not in the Brad Pitt / George Clooney / Leonardo DiCaprio sense of the word. I can’t imagine him ever swanning around those fancy Hollywood parties, rubbing shoulders with the cool kids, posing with models and billionaires.

It just doesn’t fit for me. Hell, I’d even go as far as to say a guy like Hoffman would find the word itself totally vacuous, a joke perpetuated by terminally insecure people who seek constant validation from anyone they can get it from.

I don’t think he gave a fuck about any of that. I think he cared about his characters deeply, he cared about finding their vulnerability, their insecurity, their dementia, the ugliness and beauty beneath their words and actions.



That’s what I think he cared about – finding those things and surrendering himself to them completely, using himself as a conduit to channel the emotions his characters felt and making us feel those emotions too.

I’ll miss the random appearances he used to make in movies, often more content to play a supporting role than take the spotlight. I’ll miss those “Fuck yeah, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s in this!” moments when he would appear on-screen because you always knew, always, that whatever role he was given, he’d smack it out the park.

More than that though, I’ll miss what I used to share with Hoffman, that currency his character Lester Bangs speaks of in Almost Famous, that startlingly rare quality that some people have that immediately makes you feel less alone in the world.

He was a great man gone far, far too soon.

He will be sorely missed.


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