William H Macy says he now realises co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman was ‘in pain’

William H Macy says he now realises co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman was ‘in pain’

William H Macy has reflected on his late co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman eight years after his death.

Hoffman died of a drug overdose in 2014.

Speaking to Vulture in a recent interview about Paul Thomas Anderson’s modern classic Boogie Nights, Macy said that, looking back, he now realises that Hoffman was “in pain”.

“He was the best of us; he was never bad,” Macy said of Hoffman. “And I don’t know if it’s just looking back, but I now see that he was in pain. I think the weight of living was heavier on Phil than it is on other people.”

Macy recalled appearing on a panel alongside Hoffman at Sundance Film Festival in 2000 where the two got into a debate about method acting.

“I don’t do a lot of preparation, everything I need is in the script,” the Fargo star said.

“The character is a trick we play on the audience – you don’t have to live the character. That’s not acting, it’s mental illness. And Phil disagreed. He said, ‘No, I think there’s things you can do to get into the world. Whatever’s going on, you’ve got to find it in yourself, and I think you have to submerge yourself into the world of it.’”

Macy said he eventually told his friend: “‘Whatever you do is f***ing brilliant all the time,’ and he said, ‘Thank you, and I think you do it, too, regardless of what you say.’ But it was a little window into how deeply he felt stuff.”

William H Macy (left) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Getty Images)
William H Macy (left) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Getty Images)

The actor said he still finds himself captivated by Hoffman’s performance in Anderson’s 1997 movie: “I think about him in Boogie Nights when he shows up in those clothes that are too small and he’s holding the clipboard close to his chest and he’s chewing on the pencil when he tries to flirt with Dirk Diggler – it’s heartbreaking.

“And I never saw him do that character again. From that point on, he played much stronger characters. And I don’t think there’s anything he couldn’t do.”

Macy and Hoffman also starred together in Magnolia (1999) and State and Maine (2000).

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.