Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death was a sad wake up call to all of those young adults in Hollywood who are experimenting with drugs. The untimely death of Hoffman, and other stars like Cory Montieth, may also serve the same purpose to the rest of the world.
It was known for many years that Hoffman was battling with addiction but his castmates and co-workers had seemed to think he had everything under control. Hoffman had been in and out of rehab many times which is not uncommon for heroin addicts. The reality is that relapse occurs all too often, and not just with talented artists.
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s most prestigious actors. His performance this year in Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street, captures DiCaprio playing the part of Jordan Belfort, who is a drug obsessed money making machine.
As convincing as DiCaprio’s performance is, he is not one of those talented actors who has turned to drugs in a time of stress. One would be surprised at how convincing he plays an addict though, especially when he and actor Jonah Hill fumble on the kitchen floor and fall all over each other, breaking things after they have ingested some expired Quaaludes that surprisingly still pack an intense punch.
In an interview with the LA Times, DiCaprio has stated that he has never tried drugs. “Never done it,” he says. DiCaprio goes on to tell the story of how he grew up seeing drugs everywhere when he was just four years old, and how that has really turned him off from any temptation.
DiCaprio continued to tell a story of how he would witness drugs being passed around when he was a young teen in L.A., saying “Hollywood is a very volatile place.” He also mentioned that in his own experience what he saw was young artists and actors coming into a new and exciting environment and getting discouraged by rejection, making them vulnerable to peer pressure. “We’ve seen a lot of people fall victim to that, and it’s very unfortunate” He says.
It is no doubt that Hoffman was one of the greatest actors that people have had the pleasure of watching on the big screen. Like DiCaprio, Hoffman began acting as a teenager, yet his substance abuse problem only started after college when he was in his early 20’s. Hoffman was found dead in his home by his longtime friend and screen writer David Bar Katz.
DiCaprio turned to acting to get away from the public school system that seemed to be the wrong fit for the boy. He begged his mother to take him to acting classes. He knew it was what he wanted to do. He was impressed by the landscape in L.A. and how its beauty was inspiring him, rather than where he lived, which he says had a “prostitution ring on my street corner.”
One can see how very different people, both so talented can deal with their surroundings. Reports of actors and singers falling victim to the pressures in their life by turning to drugs, is something people hear about all too often. Some actors like DiCaprio prove that talent does not equal a susceptibility to drug use, or even a predisposition. What Hoffman suffered from was a tricky disease. People can rise above their situation however, and create what they feel they deserve.
Editorial by Katie Sevigny