Seymour Hoffman remembered as a gentleman

Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Australian film and theatre celebrities have paid tribute to Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, describing his death as an ‘‘extraordinary loss’’.

Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment after a suspected drug overdose on Sunday. 

He was 46.

The US actor directed Andrew Upton’s play Riflemind in Sydney and in London and also True West at the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) in 2010.

The STC artistic director described Seymour Hoffman as an incredible man.

‘‘(He was) a generous and true spirit,’’ Upton says.‘‘The loss is extraordinary.’’

Australian actor Brendan Cowell spoke with Seymour Hoffman about the Oscar winner’s struggle with substance abuse and emailed him when he went into rehab last May.

Cowell worked with Seymour Hoffman when the American directed the Sam Shepard play, True West.

‘‘He had his three kids with him and his wife and he was going for jogs in the morning and loving the beach, he looked like a very happy man,’’ Cowell told ABC radio.

‘‘I talked to him a bit about substance abuse and he’d given away the drink at 21.‘‘Last May he went into rehab and I emailed him then, so clearly it had come back to haunt him.’’

Cowell said Seymour Hoffman was an incredibly intense man who approached acting with vigour.

'‘I’ve never met anyone who takes acting so seriously,’’ he said.

‘‘He kind of pushed me to a level I’d never been pushed before as a director.’’

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.

Seymour Hoffman also voiced Max in Australian director Adam Elliot’s stop-motion animation film, Mary and Max. ‘‘It was a hard character to pitch to him because, you know, my lead character Max is a very overweight, Jewish atheist with Asperger’s syndrome,’’ Elliot told ABC Radio.

He says he didn’t have much time to rehearse with Hoffman.‘‘He was like Meryl Streep, he was a real chameleon and could just get the character so quickly and he was so authentic too.’’



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