Philip Seymour Hoffman: Interview Part I

In depth analysis of great art, when handled properly and honestly, often magnifies the sparse details that are felt and appreciated on an emotional level but are often overlooked on a technical and conscious level by most of us(myself). At a screening recently that I attended of CAPOTE, the film now showing in theaters, starring actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was present and the critically acclaimed writer and art scholar, Dr. Annette Insdorf who moderated the event, had an in-depth discussion and interview that took place about CAPOTE and other things in front of a sold-out auditorium of at least two thousand film lovers. This blog will feature essentially some loose excerpts from their discussion and will include some of the audience questions that Philip Hoffman answered. This took place 2 days ago at the auditorium of the 92nd street Y, here in NY, NY. If you have not seen the movie, do not read any futher since I may reveal key parts of the movie.

Some key points:

1. He mentioned that he knew either Ben Miller or Dan Futterman since he was 12. They are the director and producer respectively.

2. The scene in the movie where Truman Capote reads an excerpt from the book in front of an audience in New York, actually took place in the same auditorium where the screening took place the other night. Though the scene was actually shot somewhere other then the 92nd Y since the Y is filled practically every night with different events they could not book it.


Initially, AS(Annette Insdorf) asked about his preparation for the role. PSH(Philip Seymour Hoffman) said 1st part research, tons of research, audio tapes and vhs tapes. 2 or 3 months of initial research and even a time period of denial. PSH mentioned that at first he thought about what he remembered of Truman Capote as a child. As a child he thought of TC as "the odd guy who wrote that spooky book(In Cold Blood)," and he remembered seeing him on talk shows. He also had a "gut instinct" that him and TC(Truman Capote) had something in common though he could not put his finger quite on it. Perhaps it had to do with age he said. Being at a certain age and feeling lost, not sure where you are or what's next. A couple of times, PSH got together with Ben and Dan and others and PSH felt that he was struggling with the part and Ben would say "don't despair." PSH said he started to understand and grasp "the personal attachment of the story." The need for it(personal attachment), the love of it and the betrayal of it."

AS asked him about how they were able to capture "the quietness of the film, the unsaid rather then the stated?" PSH credited the director and his "highly skilled filmed making." "The way it was shot." Ben captured the private tragedy of a public persona. It was purposely done and he was not even aware of that. He mentioned Ben's "probing eye." There is a scene were TC stands in front of a house and you actually see TC through the door and you see his personal hunger. You see TC "exposed and vulnerable."

Check back later(48 hours) for more information and coverage from art comments about this interview.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like a review that I wrote about the monumental performance give by the Brad Mehldau Trio at the Village Vanguard. Click the link below to read the review:

Brad Mehldau Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard Part I

Feel free to post any comments. They are welcome!

Peter Duhon