Philip Seymour Hoffman :(
Found dead in his apartment this afternoon: http://variety.com/2014/film/news/wsj-report-philip-seymour-hoffman-found-d...
That sucks a whole freakin' lot.
Truly a shame, however it opens up the can of worms that is addiction, which is usually brushed under the rug by the media shortly after these tragedies.
Someone like Hoffman with a net worth of approx. $35million could easily have paid a team of people to follow him 24/7 to keep him out of trouble. Perhaps that's not a realistic assumption. Maybe he couldn't handle fame, as seemed to be the case with Heath Ledger and used drugs to numb the feelings brought on by pressure / awards speculation / reviews, etc.
This article suggests that we lay people could not possibly know what it is like
What does the SAG offer in terms of addiction counseling? Apparently not much.
Found this interesting interview as well:
Very sad. I think he had just finished treatment this year, so I don't believe that access to counseling was the issue. I first remember seeing him in Twister and then Patch Adams before catching his independent stuff. What a great range! In a world of actors caching in on playing one character, Hoffman was a real character actor that painted great, vivid yet believable characters. Great actor.
He was awesome opposite DeNiro, in the movie 'Flawless", the best DeNiro movie you never saw. Worth renting, really. A tremendous loss to film, and a tragedy for his family and friends, to lose him too soon. He first came to my attention in Boogie Nights, along with co-star Riley, as up-and-comers to watch.
Seems like a trope that many actors/performers are, deep down, fragile and insecure people; is it acting out roles that draws them to the profession, so they can be someone other than themselves? And does this predispose them to compulsive or addictive behavior? Or is this just a human universal, that some people fall into addiction, regardless of their profession? A question for psychologists, I guess.
Yeah, this is terrible news. Today they found 50 bags of heroin in his apartment... I guess you could say he had a problem...
But he was one of my favorite "weird dude I always wished had a small part in every movie" type guys. He was amazing in all of his collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights [my personal fav], Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, The Master), and I always thought he was a perfect addition to an ensemble cast (even Happiness). Some of my other personal favorite little roles of his were as Brandt in The Big Lebowski, Jacob from 25th Hour, and especially as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous. This is a pretty uncool start to the week.
Here is a pretty cool little article about a brief encounter a beginning actor had with Hoffman.
Can we rename this forum the "Philip Seymour Hoffman Memorial TV and Film Appreciation Forum" - he truly is a loss to the future of acting
Situations like this are always sad. I feel bad for his family and friends. I wonder if drug addiction seems to be more common with actors and musicians because of the atmosphere they work in. I think we can all agree that Hollywood is a worldly atmosphere.
Steven Spielberg was interviewed for the movie Poltergeist and was asked why they showed parents with drugs. He basically said everyone has used drugs. If they are considered normal and okay by everyone around you then it wouldn't be that surprising if you end up using them. I guess I only write this since that article that was linked pointed to Stress as one of the main reasons why a lot of actors use drugs.
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[Stephen Smith] "pointed to Stress as one of the main reasons why a lot of actors use drugs."
Stress can certainly lead to casual or even regular drug use, with alcohol being one of the more common choices to just cool down...but addiction is something else. I think the high correlation between people in the arts (INCLUDING US) and addiction is that the exact characteristics that feed into addiction are the ones that feed into creativity.
Not that most creatives are addicts or that most addicts are creative -- but there is a correlation.
The same is true for depression and manic-depression, too. There's a strikingly high correlation between those and creativity. Indeed, in Phillip's case, it appears that he may have been burdened with depression as well as addiction.
This hits close to home for me in a lot of ways that I'm still trying to figure out how to talk about, but for now, let me point you to a wonderful article of Kylee's here at the COW, How Are You Doing? Let's Talk: Mental Illness & Creativity in the Video Ind....
I also just came across an article by musician, comedian, author, etc Russell Brand from last year called My Life Without Drugs that I found incredibly moving. The first sentence, "The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday."
One of the hardest parts of thinking about this in Phillip's case is that he was in fact getting help. He'd been working the program for over 20 years, he had friends he was talking to about his recently renewed troubles. He wasn't alone, but people who've wrestled demons knows that they never die.
One of the first things that folks with depression and manic-depression learn to do is to deflect attention from their conditions, and to my point earlier, a lot of the best ways are to take on creative roles that are helped by those difficulties. Writers, actors, musicians, directors -- you can think of a dozen jobs like this where heightened emotional states and the ability to maintain precarious balances between inner states and outward roles are rewarded. Heck, without being cynical even a little bit, add leadership positions in politics and business to the list.
With manic depression/bipolarity, add cycles of being able to go for days without sleep, creativity that feels like it will never stop, a brightness that feeds into charisma -- that can be great, until it won't turn off, and it leads to panic when you feel your sanity slip, when everything in you is trying to keep going AND trying to stop at the same time.
Nobody thinks a thing of it when you break through the other side of the mania and crash into depression and sleep for days. "I just had to push through that deadline, now nobody call me until Tuesday. Hahahaha!"
And when alcohol isn't enough to put on the brakes, heroin is. Fortunately, for most people, even most manic-depressives, it doesn't get that far. But that's why "I'd never have guessed" is so often the response. Of course you'd never have guessed. An incredible amount of energy was expended, on top of careful training, to make sure you didn't.
Phillip was very up front about being drawn to roles of characters who struggle. On top of his intense academic and professional discipline (BFA in acting from NYU, he co-founded his own theater company before he even graduated), and a tremendous constant effort to keep getting better at his work, one additional reason he was so effective is that he was getting plenty of practice every day from the time he got out of bed. Which most days was probably a lot harder than it sounds.
My point is everyone has stress. To imply that actors have more stress then everyone else seemed silly.
You can't get addicted to something you have never tried, if you work in an environment where illegal drugs are considered no big deal and normal then you would be more likely to give it a try.
If you avoid drugs and never try them then you won't be craving them every day. Addiction is incredibly hard to combat so it is easier to just avoid it in the first place. I guess that is why they taught us to "just say no" in school.
The best way in my opinion to forget about your own problems is to provide service for those in need.
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