Sometimes when I see a great movie or a great play I think, Being human means you’re really alone…

…So many things I’m interested in come down to the subject of regret. That’s Capote alone on the plane at the end of ‘Capote,’ the priest and the nun in ‘Doubt’ who make judgments they may wish they hadn’t and Clint Eastwood [in Gran Torino]. I try to live my life in such a way that I don’t have profound regrets. That’s probably why I work so much. I don’t want to feel I missed something important…

I still get wide-eyed… It’s true that I’ve made a lot of movies, and I know there’s a microphone over there and a camera back there, but when you see something great, you lose all that. I’m sitting forward, and I’m being moved, and I have no idea how he did it. I don’t know Clint Eastwood, but what’s amazing is that you have the sense that he’s doing exactly what he wants to be doing. He’s so committed. In this film, he keeps the action going, and the people don’t ever behave against their true nature. That’s what I look for in my work: when a writer can deftly describe the human experience in a way that you didn’t think could even be put into words. That doesn’t happen often, but it gives me something to play inside. Too much of the time our culture fears subtlety. They really want to make sure you get it. And when subtlety is lost, I get upset…

I heard that Eastwood is saying that this will be his last film as an actor… There’s part of me that feels that way during almost every movie. On ‘Synecdoche,’ I paid a price. I went to the office and punched my card in, and I thought about a lot of things, and some of them involved losing myself. You try to be artful for the film, but it’s hard. I’d finish a scene, walk right off the set, go in the bathroom, close the door and just take some breaths to regain my composure. In the end, I’m grateful to feel something so deeply, and I’m also grateful that it’s over… [smiling] And that’s my life.

— Philip Seymour Hoffman, New York Times Magazine, 19 December 2008

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