The L.A Times has a new interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee) where he talks about working with friends in the Master.
Casting Philip Seymour Hoffman in the role of Lancaster Dodd in “The Master” was surely a no-brainer for director Paul Thomas Anderson, who has been friends with the Oscar-winning actor for 17 years and has cast him in five of his films (including a small role in Anderson’s debut feature, “Hard Eight”). And Hoffman himself is effusive when talking about his good friend, who hired him for the first time in 10 years for “The Master.”
“We met when I was like, 25,” says Hoffman. “We talked a lot and became fast friends, and we’ve been friends ever since. I like what he does: He talks about bigger things without putting his finger on it. He’s probably not even fully aware always of what he’s talking about, but he’s willing to go there anyway. I respond to what he does — I always have.”
Which explains in part why their first professional reunion since 2002′s “Punch Drunk Love” is such a triumph: Not only was it created by two men who are longtime friends and understand one another’s methods, it happens to be about two men who are friends and who understand each other all too well. As Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic writer turned leader of a self-enlightenment group, Hoffman bounces off the equally charismatic but frenetic Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) for more than two hours, exploring the boundaries of a platonic love affair between two guys who just can’t make it work.
“It’s a really ballsy movie, and very moving,” says Hoffman. Quell and Dodd, he says, “are incredibly dynamic people, but not all that likable in many ways. And two straight men who love each other, quite desperately — you don’t see that dynamic, that extreme — that exposed, that vulnerable. I don’t know if you can get much more close or intimate or vulnerable with two men without it being another kind of relationship, which it’s not.”
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Photo credit : Jennifer Altman for the L.A. Times