If there was ever any question as to just how talented the late Philip Seymour Hoffman was the answer could be revealed by watching the actor in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee and he proved his worth in that introductory role. Hoffman’s screen time was not much in relation to his co-stars, with the exception of Donald Sutherland who shares about the same amount of time in front of the camera.
Granted, Sutherland as President Snow gets more time to be menacing and damned scary but his character was in the first film and therefore he required more in the way of screen time by virtue of the plot alone. Heavensbee was a new character, brought on because his predecessor screwed up by falling for Katniss Everdeen’s feint. Bad for the first Head Gamemaker, but, good for the audience as it gave Hoffman his chance to show just how good he really was.
With the world still reeling at the news that Hoffman was dead at 46 years of age found surrounded by packets of heroin with a needle still stuck in one lifeless arm, his performances will live on. His death was shocking, untimely and a great loss to the acting community. After days of reading about the actor’s long sobriety come undone by one drink of an alcoholic beverage, it was saddening to revisit the master’s work on the 2013 sequel to The Hunger Games . Even though it was sad to see the actor ply his craft, he still shone brightly as a character who would take on much more importance in later sequels to the franchise.
In the few short scenes he had, Hoffman made the most of his onscreen time. Delicately dancing between being very unlikeable and dastardly, at first, when helping President Snow defeat Katniss Everdeen. Later in the film, when all masks have been removed, his character undergoes a further transformation and this “bad” guy turns out to be much more than the sum of all his parts.
Since the DVD of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is not due for release until March 7, 2014, fans of the franchise will have to wait a little bit longer before seeing Hoffman’s stellar performance. If fans caught his eye-catching performance at the cinema, they can relive the experience when the film is finally released on DVD, streaming services and Blu-ray.
Sadly, the 46 year-old Oscar winning actor did not finish his portrayal of Plutarch Heavensbee before his death. The consummate actor had one scene left to film for the latter of two sequels, Mockingjay Part 2. Apparently, Hoffman’s death will not affect Mockingjay Part 1 which is due to premiere on Thanksgiving 2014. It was while filming the second part that the actor died leaving what has been described as a real “heavy-duty” emotional rollercoaster of a scene.
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) intimated that although the studio still seven days set aside to film Hoffman’s “pivotal” scene, his death would not cause them an insurmountable amount of trouble. Reading between the THR lines it seems that even though there was still some “on camera” time left to be done, Hoffman as Heavensbee had done enough that essentially the scene could be completed without him.
A studio source pointed out that digitally Hoffman could be recreated and the entire scene, which has not been filmed yet, could be reworked to keep the actor’s performance intact. A performance that could be created by using CGI to place Hoffman in the scene. As mentioned by other websites, if filmmakers could roll back the years on Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy, it should be fairly easy to bring Hoffman’s character back on film via computer.
Philip Seymour Hoffman proved his worth as an actor of the finest caliber in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Obviously the actor had proven his worth before the Hunger Games franchise, but, this most recent work showed that despite the lack of on screen time for his character he made the role mesmerizing with a minimum of muss and fuss. For those who wish to refresh their memory of Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee performance, they will have to wait until March 7 or until November to see the next in the franchise The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
By Michael Smith