The Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment this morning, reportedly from a heroin overdose. To say our hearts are broken is an understatement, but this isn’t about us.

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Rest in Peace

It’s true that Philip was our Plutarch Heavensbee, a part of The Hunger Games family. But The Hunger Games doesn’t have sole ownership over him. Career-wise, this man was a master thespian. If you haven’t acquainted yourself with films like The Big Lebowski, Capote, Doubt, and The Master, do yourself a favor and go watch them. The man knew how to embrace a character and captivate an audience. It’s imperative to remember that he was also much more than what theatrical audiences and fans think. He was also a husband, a father of three young children, and a friend to many others.

The immediate reaction we’re seeing from a surprising amount of fans is “Oh noes! What does this mean for the Mockingjay movies?!” Maybe it’s because the moment is still raw but seriously… How dare you?

Yes, there are surely decisions to be made and statements to be released, but they don’t matter. Films can be edited, rescripted, and reshot. Real life cannot. And what’s happened here is very, very real.

We’re not going to go on about addiction and who’s to blame for it, nor are we going to talk about angels or the unpredictability of our short, messy lives. We’re especially not analyzing The Hunger Games series or Plutarch. Right now, we’re just doing one of the things that made Philip Seymour Hoffman so good at his job: feeling. Grief. Sympathy. Appreciation. All of it.

Rest Easy,
The Girl With The Pearl

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13 comments

  1. Well said, Girl with the Pearl.

    At some point in each real actor’s life there comes a moment when the actor’s soul fuses with the character and with the audience to create a kind of oneness that is close to holiness. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, you have given us that gift more than once. Thank you.

  2. When I first read the headline I was shocked. I really couldn’t believe it. I just want to give my condolences to his family because there are no good words to describe this loss.

  3. I heard the news on radio, and I was shocked when I first heard it: “Hoffman? Phillip Seymour Hoffman? Not some other Hoffman?” I was also surprised to find PSH was only 46 years old when he died — I’d pegged him as at least in his 50s.

    I guess I could get pedantic and compare the fan reaction to PSH’s death to Capitolian reactions to Tribute deaths, but I’ll just leave that as something to think about. The parallel that’s much more relevant right now, is that he left behind three very young kids, ages 10, 7, and 5. They’re all younger than how old Katniss was, when she lost her father at age 11. Of course, they’re not going to starve, but I’m sure they’ll be affected a LOT emotionally, psychologically, what have you — much as Katniss obviously was. They lost much, MUCH more than just a great actor playing a fan favorite character.

  4. This is really heart breaking. Like you mentioned real life cannot be altered to make this wonderful actor come back to life.

  5. I wouldn’t judge the fans. People have been in shock, and when in shock we can react strangely and in many different ways. One reason people may focus on the trivial, like “What happens with MJ?” is what you imply, that it takes time for the “realness” of something like this to sink in. I know it took time for me before I actually realized the implications and “realness” of this. Those poor kids.

  6. The death of such a talented man is a travesty and I will definitely remember him of one of the greater actors of my youth and all my prayers are with his family and friends.

    However, I think it’s wrong of you to make such a comment on the fans reactions. A famous person has a legacy and it’s perfectly natural to question the outcome and effects once that person has passed. I agree highly with Louise, as an avid fan, it is one of the first questions you would ask – I wouldn’t assume that because fans have concerns for the hunger games, it means that the do not recognise that he was human, that he had a life and has left that and people he loves behind. I’m sure everyone shed a tear upon hearing the news – whether physically or otherwise.
    Even in times of personal loss, I’ve often questioned the outcome of it – what will life be like without them?
    I respect this entry for reminding us what is important, but the phrasing of it got my blood moving.
    Death is a difficult and horribly irreversible but everyone handles it differently and judging a persons reaction to it leads me to ask the same question – how dare you?

    1. Saying nothing but “This man’s death is horrible for a movie I like!” is extremely ignorant, in our opinion. It’s not handling or acknowledging loss at all or wondering what life will be like without him. It’s looking completely passed the humans devastated by a real tragedy and instead crying over how this will affect THEM, the fan who may no longer get to see a film exactly as they’d like it.

      Considering his wide berth of amazing work, we doubt The Hunger Games franchise will even be a blip in his legacy. Yes, everyone was curious about how it would shake out, but to make it the MAIN CONCERN after a man’s death simply because you looked forward to the way his future efforts would entertain you is horrendous.

      1. Nobody’s saying it’s their main concern, but it’s something that crosses most people minds. If an actor dies in the middle of a project, apart from other things, you wonder what will happen with that project.

        I mean, that he does this kind of things is the reason people know him, will mourn him and that you talked about him in this blog. Thousands of people die every day.

        I’m not saying I don’t feel for him. I felt really affected (it’s the first time for me that a celebrity’s death has affected me in some way), because I really liked him as an actor. And after thinking about him a bit and such, the question to what would happen with Mockingjay also crossed my mind.

        This can’t be denied, and I’m sure it crossed your minds as well. It’s perfectly normal to ask about this, just as charlie said.

        He’s definitely not just saying “This man’s death is horrible for a movie I like!”. He’s sad about him, because he liked him as an actor. And he’s also wondering what will happen with the movie he was doing.

        To pretend we would be sad about this if he wasn’t an actor is just a lie. We’re not mourning everyone’s deaths, or we wouldn’t stop mourning. We just mourn the deaths of people who we know in some way and who we like, and the reason we knew and liked Phillip Seymour Hoffman are his films. And the reason some of the fans know him, is because he’s in The Hunger Games.

        So, it’s definitely normal. And we aren’t heartless for thinking this. It’s not like we don’t care about anything else or about him…

        I’m way more angry to the people who just say he deserves it just because he was doing drugs. Those are the heartless ignorants.

        1. Oh, we know that not everyone is saying it or saying that’s the only thing that matters. But there were lots of responses that simply WERE only “This is so bad for Mockingjay!” or something along those lines and nothing else, which is what we find pretty despicable.

          We don’t mourn everyone, but we do mourn non-celebrities in our lives differently, perhaps with more respect. I’ve had an uncle and a cousin pass away within the past month. Never in that time did I stop and think “How will their tragic loss of life affect me?” All I’m saying is offer this man the same respect.

          1. I think I’m offering him lots of respect, because I respected him.

            I’m defending him against the people who criticise him and completely blame him for the drugs issue, even going as far as saying he just deserved it for doing drugs.

            I’m not saying I only care about mockingjay, far from it. I haven’t encountered people who were only worried about Mockingjay (but then again, I mostly just take a look at the fansites without reading many comments, just a few, and also this website), but that does sound a bit bad. I’m sure they mean well… hopefully?

            But, it’s normal to think about it in addition to mourning / respecting him. I mean, most people mainly just know his film side (and that’s ok, we don’t need to -and shouldn’t- know celebrities’ personal lives), so it’s normal.

            And I’m sure charlie didn’t mean when somebody close to you dies you immediately think “How will their tragic loss of life affect me?” It’s something more like, when somebody close to you dies, you think about them, what they did, the good moments you had together with them… and you also think you won’t be able to spend more time with them, they won’t be able to finish whatever is it they were doing, etc. If I had a painter friend who was very excited about a painting she was making and then she passed away, I’d be a bit sad she couldn’t finish that thing she really felt proud off…

            So yeah, I don’t think it makes us horrible or anything like that to wonder about this issue. But if it’s the only thing that we care about… well, that IS bad.

  7. Very well articulated, Abel. You highlighted the point I was struggling to make.

    As I mentioned earlier, my main concern wasn’t necessarily the opinion that was voiced. As you can see in what Abel has outlined, the question about the famous aspect of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s life is something that many people asked as was probably meant completely honestly and kindly – it may have not been the first question I asked, but if I was to wonder about that question, a favourite hunger games fan site is where I would ask, which may be why you may have had more questions than you might have expected.

    My main issue was the way it was worded, I think it was rather harsh – for lack of a better word. This is an important part of some peoples life, as I’m sure it is for the writers of these articles and to be made to feel like a horrible person – betraying someone many people see as a influence – for what some people think of as a harmless natural thought definitely isn’t right in my eyes.

    Ignoring whether the aforementioned question was right or wrong, I think the situation could have been handled much more delicately.

  8. Well, certainly after my initial “OMG he was only 46 and he had left behind 3 little kids! This sucks!” reaction, I did wonder about how his death would affect the MJ movies. I don’t think that’s the reaction being called out here.

    However, it does seem some people reacted, basically, almost exactly the same as they did to the Gary Ross departure, bascially an “Oh, he’s gone? Guess they’ll have to change MJ around a bit”, not expressing ANY sadness or condolences at all. The coldness of that response, is what inspired my comparison to Capitol people who I imagine reacting to, say, Rue’s death with something like “This sucks, I’d bet 100 gold coins that she’s make it to the Final Four!”

    Of course, we’re not going to mourn strangers the same way we mourn loved ones, but some of the very cold, callous attitudes I’ve noticed by some, toward the death of a human being, did strike me as quite ironic for a THG fan.

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