"For me, acting is torturous, and it’s torturous because you know it’s a beautiful thing. I was young once, and I said, That’s beautiful and I want that. Wanting it is easy, but trying to be great — well, that’s absolutely torturous."
Philip Seymour Hoffman for New York Times Magazine 2008. PSH, he’s been touted as the quintessential ‘character’ actor, the actor’s actor, but aren’t they all? I rather like what The Guardian said about Seymour Hoffman as the everyday man who ‘ennobled the 99%.’ Sure, he didn’t have the hollywood looks or tabloid charisma of the Clooneys or the Pitts but that’s what made PSH so transfixing and important to cinema - he made us feel for an instant that cinema should be for ‘us’ and about ‘us’. Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death is another one of those instances (Anthony Minghella, Heath Ledger) where you realize what the world has lost future greatness. Thank you Phil for some truly memorable performances notably in Capote, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Doubt and The Master.
Rest in Peace.
"Weirdly, I think that the people that dedicate themselves to the 400-year language are the real rebels. Because they dare to care. When you have to speak verse, it’s impossible not to care about it. The other thing is that it goes through you like your beat. I mean, when you play Hamlet which is a 1500 line part and you come off stage at 11 o’clock and you think - why do I feel like I’m in a club at 3 am without any drugs on me? Because of the beat of the verse, because it’s a heartbeat that keeps you going and makes you excited. And you know, you don’t have to be an actor to feel that. You just need to have some verse in the head. You just need to have some verse memorized."
— Samuel West from BBC’s Off by Heart: Shakespeare
. The Royal Shakespeare Company conducted a competition amongst 13 to 15 year olds to learn some of the greatest words put to the page by good old Shakey. As the great Jeremy Paxman says it goes to show that young people still appreciate ‘words and drama and the human story’ whatever the media will have us think. I have to say, that listening to Shakespeare has been a great antidote to my whirlwind flight from Sydney to a one-day stopover in Shanghai to see the grandparents, a few hours in New York and quick hop over back to Boston.