Following the announcement of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death yesterday, celebrities and his peers, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Philip Baker Hall, have been sharing remembrances of the actor online. Today, director Cameron Crowe paid tribute to Hoffman via his website The Uncool. Crowe had worked with Hoffman in Almost Famous, in which the actor portrayed music critic Lester Bangs.
“My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms,” Crowe wrote. “In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie. In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.”