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A New Chapter for Phillip Seymour Hoffman

When you have already won an Oscar, have your own theater stage company and are one of the go-to acting talents in the business, there is a need for new horizons to keep oneself fresh. Such is the case  for actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, an Oscar winner for his role in the biopic CAPOTE, who debuted as a feature film director this past weekend at the Sundance Film Festival with his film JACK GOES BOATING.

Hoffman was born in Rochester, New York on July 23, 1967. After becoming involved in high school theatrics, he attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with a degree in Drama in 1989. He made his feature film debut in the indie production TRIPLE BOGEY ON A PAR FIVE HOLE, with his first major role one year later in the indie film MY NEW GUN.

His breakthrough performance came as a porno industry gaffer in Paul Thomas Anderson's BOOGIE NIGHTS. He quickly became an icon of indie cinema, establishing a reputation as one of the screen's finest actors, in a variety of supporting and second leads in indie and major features, including HAPPINESS, FLAWLESS, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, MAGNOLIA and ALMOST FAMOUS. Last year he was again nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role as a priest who may be a child molester in the drama DOUBT, opposite Meryl Streep.


Hoffman is also quite active on the stage. On Broadway, he has earned two Tony nominations, as Best Actor in 2000 for a revival of Sam Shepard's "True West" and as Best Supporting Actor in 2003 for a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night". He is the Co-Artistic Director of the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York, where he has served as both director and producer for a number of well-received productions.

In JACK GOES BOATING, he not only directs but also stars. In the dark comedy, he plays Jack, a limousine driver with vague dreams of landing a more prestigious job and an obsession with reggae music that prompts him to grow dreadlocks. He spends most of his time hanging out with his best friend and fellow driver Clyde (played by John Ortiz) and his wife Lucy (played by Daphne Rubin-Vega). Jack also has a budding relationship with Connie, played by Amy Ryan, herself an Oscar nominee as the working class mother in GONE, BABY GONE.


The film, with an original screenplay by Robert Glaudini based on his stage play, is a humanist tale of four ordinary people in New York City, who might easily recede into the anonymous background of the giant metropolis. The film follows in the tradition of the Woody Allen films which utilize the city as one of its characters and which communicates the frustrations, obsessions and potentials of life in a very urban setting. The film will be released in North America by Overture Films and is being represented internationally by Celluloid Dreams.


Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor 


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