Philip Seymour Hoffman’s many Faces

A young Philip Seymour Hoffman pulls eyelids down under his glasses

Philip Seymour Hoffman          Creative Cmns Attribution

Which of  Philip Seymour Hoffman’s many faces will we remember the most?

Most of us have seen the headline that Hoffman was the Face of Heroin Addiction–a poster boy of sorts for the tragic epidemic sweeping through parts of America. He may’ve been the Face of Genius, too.

I noticed a great photo collection of Hoffman’s faces in several different roles reinforcing the notion that he could slip in and out of facial expressions and personae as easily as we mortals slip in and out of slippers.

And here is a collection of video clips of personality changes to go with these various faces.  Changing his persona seemed as easy for him as walking from one room to another. (Caution: some clips are raunchy.Read some of the words below to see if you want to view them.) Hoffman began as a skilled character actor and then a leading actor, eventually winning an Oscar for inhabiting the role of Truman Capote.

What were some of the words coming from Hoffman’s many different faces?

Hoffman graduated from NYU in 1989 with a B.F.A. in Drama, and the following excerpts and film quotes from an New York University article come from a reliable source. I’ve added the “face” in parentheses that goes with each role in these lesser known works of his:

“One of the most successful and well-respected actors ever on film, Hoffman’s performances were electric no matter the project. However, to truly recognize his skill, it’s important to look back on his less lauded accomplishments. The parts he dominated without being the lead; the roles where his presence alone saved the film from catastrophe. These are the marks of true genius.

THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY ( Face: a  sleaze bag Freddie Miles, a simpering playboy with a delicious drawl)

Best line: “God, don’t you want to fuck every woman you see at least once?” (See this scene in the above-noted collection of video clips.)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (  he plays  a vindictive arms dealer)

Best line: “Who are you? What’s your name? Do you have a wife? A girlfriend? Because if you do, I’m gonna find her. I’m gonna hurt her. I’m gonna make her bleed, and cry, and call out your name. And then I’m gonna find you,and kill you right in front of her.” (Also in the above-noted collection.)

ALONG CAME POLLY (a  schlubby Sandy Lyle in this romantic comedy)

Best line: “It’s an art opening for this Dutch guy, Jost. His art sucks, but he used to sell me really good pot. [pause] Oh, man, I’m so friggin’ horny.”

PUNCH-DRUNK-LOVE ( blonde wavy hair and pimp-like, gold-chain ambiance)

Best line: “SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! Shut up; will you SHUTUP SHUTUP! SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUTUP… SHUTUP! NOW…are you threatening me, dick?” (In the above-noted collection.)

ALMOST FAMOUS  (his coolest character , mustached Lester Bangs)

Best line: “Music, you know, true music – not just rock n roll – it chooses you. It lives in your car, or alone listening to your headphones, you know, with the vast scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America.”


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