‘I see now that he was in pain’

Eight years have passed since Philip Seymour Hoffmans tragic death, but the Oscar winner continues to live on through his films and the memories of his peers. In a new interview with Vulturehis “Boogie nights“Co-star William H. Macy reflected on Hoffman’s brilliance as an actor and the demons that haunted him throughout his life.

“He was the best of us; he was never bad,” Macy said of Hoffman. “And I don’t know if it’s just looking back, but I can see now that he was in pain. I think the weight of life was heavier on Phil than it is on other people.”

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Macy recalled that the two actors once got into a debate about one of Hollywood’s current favorite topics — method acting. And while they disagreed about the right approach, the conversation helped Macy understand how sensitive Hoffman was.

“We were on a panel together, I think, at Sundance with ‘State and Main,’ and someone asked about preparation,” Macy said. “I don’t prepare that much, everything I need is in the script. The character is a trick we play on the audience – you don’t have to live the character. It’s not acting, it’s mental illness. And Phil disagreed. He said, ‘No, I think there are things you can do to get into the world. Whatever is going on, you have to find it in yourself, and I think you have to immerse yourself in the world of it.’ We went back and forth, it was an interesting conversation, and then I suddenly realized, ‘What do I say to him?’ I said, ‘whatever you do is bloody brilliant all the time’ and he said, ‘Thanks, and I think you do too, no matter what you say.’ But it was a small window into how deeply he felt things.”

Even 25 years after they shared the screen in “Boogie Nights,” Macy still thinks about Hoffman’s captivating performance in the Paul Thomas Anderson film.

“I think of him in ‘Boogie Nights’ when he shows up in those clothes that are too small and he’s holding the clipboard close to his chest and he’s chewing on the pencil when he’s trying to flirt with Dirk Diggler — it’s heartbreaking,” Macy said. “And I never saw him do that character again. From that point on, he played much stronger characters. And I don’t think there’s anything he couldn’t do.”

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