Tuesday, February 04, 2014

My Memories Of Philip Seymour Hoffman

"One lives in the hope of becoming a memory."

~Antonia Porchia

Let me say upfront, my first hand memories of Philip Seymour Hoffman are but 30 seconds long... if that. But in that 30 seconds I formed an opinion of him that will last my lifetime. It was a good memory, and it is what I thought about immediately after learning the sad news Sunday afternoon of his passing. To my surprise, that brief encounter is still amazingly vivid to me.

In the summer of 2010, a casting call came out for extras to appear in a new movie being filmed at the Oakland Coliseum. I jumped at the chance, I mean I had been an extra in the film Angels In The Outfield, back in the 1990's, and therefore I was a serious, experienced actress! LOL. Nah, not so much, but it did sound like fun because I am one of those geeks who likes all the behind the scenes action, almost as much as the films themselves. The movie magic being made was the film Moneyball.

Anyway, in case you don't know, being on a set, waiting to film, is a lot like waiting for paint dry, especially when your big scene involves pretending to feel both awed and appalled at grown men hitting a ball. LOL. Both experiences as an extra were long days... 11 hours and 9 hours respectively. LOL. That makes for a long day, when filming 20 seconds worth of actual film time. The food we were promised, turned out to be bags of Chex Mix and mixed assorted candies. To keep us hydrated, we got our very own bottle of super cold water, and fruit punch! Damn, what more could a girl ask for?

It was a long day, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I had fun that day with a lot of different experiences, from the gorgeous setting sun, to the amazing people you meet who show up the participate in a little movie magic. I remember one man, a nice man don't get me wrong, who insisted on sitting next to me... right next to me... despite the availability of about 50 seats on either side of me. LOL. I felt claustrophobic at the time, but now as I sit here now, again, I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

Around 10:30 in the evening, I was finally tired, and the novelty was wearing off, and the coliseum was cold, but I promised to stay, and I was determined to suck it up and find something positive to focus on, and then there it was, a reason to stay... Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, on the field, doing what I think were nighttime camera spots. I watched them for about 30 or 40 minutes or so, then I saw two black SUVs drive onto the field at the far back of the field. One for Brad Pitt and one for Mr. Hoffman. 

The crowd went crazy. We had been there all day, doing what was expected of us, and finally we got to see the stars. Brad Pitt turned and waved for a couple seconds, he had a big smile on his face, then Philip Seymour Hoffman did. He smiled the biggest smile, took his official Oakland A's hat off in a small salute toward us, paused for a moment with that smile, bowed slightly, then got in the SUV and left the field. 

I was impressed. Not all celebrities take the time. They did. Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman did. I imagine they were tired. They're day was much more grueling than mine had been, but they still took the time to stop and say hello. I knew Brad Pitt's smile would be incredible, but I had no idea how warm and friendly Mr. Hoffman's would be. It was his smile that left the impression. I was cold, really cold, it gets that way in the Bay Area on summer evenings, but Mr. Hoffman's smile warmed me up inside. It was nice. 

I hadn't thought about that memory in a while, but on Sunday afternoon it all came flowing back, and with it, a deep sadness. I am sad because I will never have the chance to see that smile in person, ever again. Ever. That warm smile is gone. That hurts me more than I can say. I will also never be able to go to any more of his movies, or see him win an Oscar, or be able to appreciate any aspect of his immense talent. Ever. Again.

I hate Ever Again.

I really hate addiction. But I understand it. My life has been touched by addiction. Two close family members have battled that demon, and watching their struggle was painful. Unfortunately you can't take the battle over for them, they alone have face the demon. Some make it out alive... some don't. Phillip Seymour Hoffman didn't. I am selfishly angry at him. He had the world in the palm of his hand, a lovely family, a career a lot of young actors would love to have, friends, a comfortable roof over his head, but somehow he needed something else. Just one more thing. The drug.

I make no judgements here, I am just sad. That's all. Just sad. I will miss his talent. I will miss his smile. His kindness. I will miss him. But I am not alone. Broadway, film, television every corner of creativity will miss him. I was in the same space as he was, one evening in 2010, and I will always be warm inside, when I think of him, just because he smiled.


Mood: Reflective

~Me :)

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