I did three sittings with Philip Seymour Hoffman but it’s the time that I had a random lunch with him three years after working together that I find myself thinking about.
Running errands on a spring Saturday I popped into a hot dog joint on Lafayette, just south of Bleecker. A minute after I placed my order at the corner Philip came in. The place was almost empty, so I went up and said hello. He recognized me right away and was friendly, if low-key.
We sat down and ate. He had a cheeseburger and I had two hot dogs wrapped in bacon with hot sauce.
During our conversation I congratulated him on his Best Actor Oscar for “Capote”, which he had received only days before. I told him that he can’t now go off and do stupid big-budget action movies (a common misstep by past winners). He chewed his sandwich for a couple of seconds and then told me that his next picture was “Mission Impossible III”.
He was fun to photograph, and he brought real joy to his performances. He’ll be missed.
Top Two Images: Philip Seymour Hoffman photographed for Premiere in 1999. I was told later that it was one of his favorite sessions.
Third and Fourth Images: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly, photographed for Time Out New York in 2001. I don’t remember even speaking with them - it was so fast moving I was trying to get it all on film.
Bottom Image: Philip Seymour Hoffman photographed at Sundance Film Festival for Entertainment Weekly in 2003.
On the night of November 14th, two men broke into a quiet farmhouse in Kansas and murdered an entire family. Why did they do that? Two worlds exist in this country: the quiet conservative life, and and the life of those two men - the underbelly, the criminally violent. Those two worlds converged that bloody night.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) was an American actor and director. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2005 biographical film Capote, and received three Academy Award nominations as Best Supporting Actor. He also received three Tony Award nominations for his work in the theater.
“For me, acting is torturous, and it’s torturous because you know it’s a beautiful thing. I was young once, and I said, That’s beautiful and I want that. Wanting it is easy, but trying to be great — well, that’s absolutely torturous.”