Many people claim that Paul Thomas Anderson’s directorial career has been defined by his collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis. However, it is evident that the creative partnership between Anderson and the legendary late acting pioneer Philip Seymour Hoffman was much more extensive in comparison and benefitted both of these artistic giants.
Hoffman was a regular collaborator of Anderson, starting with a minor role in Anderson’s debut feature Hard Eight. He went on to get more prominent roles in Anderson’s other 1990s projects including the iconic Boogie Nights as well as the masterful Magnolia which is still regarded as one of the greatest cinematic achievements in Anderson’s career.
However, the greatest collaboration between Anderson and Hoffman came in 2012 when the enigmatic actor starred as the leader of a cult in post-World War II America. It takes a special actor to generate a magnetic force that affects the audiences and Hoffman had exactly what is required in order to get such a demanding role right.
“When I saw him for the first time in Scent of a Woman, I just knew what true love was,” Anderson once said in an interview while claiming that he knew they were meant for each other. “I knew what love at first sight was. It was the strangest feeling sitting in a movie theatre and thinking, ‘He’s for me and I’m for him.’ And that was it.”
In 2014, Hoffman tragically passed away due to a drug overdose but his legacy has been carried forward by his Cooper Hoffman who recently starred in Anderson’s latest project Licorice Pizza. The film has already garnered widespread critical acclaim and has marked the beginning of an exciting career in the world of cinema for Cooper
“In a weird way, it felt almost like I was stepping into my dad’s shoes,” Cooper said, while describing the experience of following in his father’s footsteps. “It really was this feeling of: Maybe this is what he felt like. It was this weird out-of-body experience. I felt incredibly close to my dad through the whole shooting process.”
Licorice Pizza was set in the San Fernando Valley, a location that has been used by Anderson in many films including his 1999 work Magnolia. A charged psychological drama, Magnolia conducts an existential examination of the modern search for subjectivity through the interconnected stories of various characters.
In a behind-the-scenes clip from the production of Magnolia, Anderson was seen doing his best impression of Hoffman’s approach to acting and he joked about the actor’s inclination towards overacting in certain situations which became a unique characteristic of Hoffman’s best works, cementing his status as one of the most talented actors around.
Watch the hilarious clip below.