Why The Hunger Games Was About More Than A Paycheck To Philip Seymour Hoffman

This past weekend I had the pleasure to sit down with a couple of castmembers of the soon to explode The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. There was an unmistakable excitement in the air, but there was also something--well, someone--missing. Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The actor who died while The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and its sequel The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 was in production looms large, even in his absence. I asked his long-time friend and co-star Jeffrey Wright what he'd like our readers to know about Philip Seymour Hoffman. In his answer, he not only spoke of the respect Hoffman carried in the industry, but also how much The Hunger Game movies meant to him. Wright explained:

"There’s a big void in the acting circle that I inhabit that’s been left by his passing. He was, he was a singular. He occupied a very specific singular space, you know, among us actors, and he was so, he was so committed to these films and was so inspired by these books and by the themes behind the book.I remember him reading (The Hunger Games) books. I remember him reading because he and I, I think, were probably among the last people in America to see the Hunger Games movie. So we were reading the books at the same time as we were preparing for Catching Fire and I remember as he was reading Mockingjay, how involved he became in the story lines. And for him, it suggested something very relevant and very present in the world, and he would say, 'This is it. This is it. This stuff here.'So, he was very engaged every day in the work that we were doing. It was really fascinating to watch him work, because we’d only worked together once before on Ides of March. So, he, you know, he had this huge presence on the set and within the family of these movies and we were all just smashed when he died.

In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Philip Seymour Hoffman reprises his role as former Capitol citizen/Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. Now embedded with the rebels of District 13, this masterful manipulator is part of planning a revolt against the very people who once made him rich and powerful. Having seen the film, I can say Hoffman is astonishing in it, delivering a grumbling voice and a raised eyebrow that paint Plutarch simply and elegantly. In honor of this lost actor, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1's final scene is followed by a title card in remembrance.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opens everywhere Friday. We'll bring you more from Jeffrey Wright and Sam Claflin later this week.

Kristy Puchko

Staff writer at CinemaBlend.