Hard to believe that it’s been over three weeks since Philip Seymour Hoffman was the first official cast member of Catching Fire announced, and that it took that long for us to get an official quote from him. But Entertainment Weekly checked in with him recently and got him to talk about what inspired him to take on the role. Even though he’s a celebrated actor, only a handful of his work is considered technically mainstream, and now suddenly he’s pretty front-and-center in a YA blockbuster. As Plutarch Heavensbee, he’ll have to undergo the crazy makeup and costumes that the first movie’s actors did, and he’ll be working mostly opposite young actors half his age. However, folks like Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson seem to have been the determining factor:
“I liked the people involved. It’s a great group of actors. It’s a great environment. And the character was something I was attracted to. It was just an interesting role. He’s somebody who’s part of the revolution, but you don’t know it. The idea that somebody would be risking themselves in such an extreme way to join something that’s that dangerous because he thinks it’s the future… that’s interesting stuff, you know?”
That is a cool take on the character, especially considering that we’ll see him interact with two very different groups of characters: Katniss, Peeta, and the rest of the victor tributes; and then Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Effie (Elizabeth Banks), Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), and the rest of the Capitol folks. Lest you worry that Hoffman doesn’t have a good handle on his character, he’s read the Catching Fire script and is now following along with the actual book. Some actors wouldn’t make that extra effort, but it’s true that he’ll learn a lot more from the books than the movies just by merit of the medium.
That said, he’s not letting the phenomenon status of the franchise intimidate him. I kind of love his perspective when he says this:
“Things always pass over, you know? I don’t know what it will be like. But, you know, I’m not playing Katniss. [laughs] I’m not in high-profile movies in that way too often, so it usually passes. I’m 45. I think it will be all right.”
I really just can’t wait to see what the costume designer does with his hair and beard…!
Photo: Daniel Deme/WENN.com