Philip Seymour Hoffman Gets Candid

Actor Talks About Getting Help For Substance Abuse


It took Hoffman nine months of his life to get the performance just right, and when the shooting was over, he was tapped out, and done being Truman Capote.

"I remember I immediately started talking like myself, like that," he says, snapping his finger. "And, I thought to myself, 'I'm never — I'm never gonna do that again. I'm not gonna act like him anymore,' " says Hoffman.

Why?

"Because I was free, first off. So the minute you're able to walk away from that and separate, just you do. I do," he explained.

"So, you can't even do it like one more time?" Kroft asked.

"No," Hoffman replied.

"Like, drunk at a party?" Kroft asked.

"Yeah," Hoffman said, laughing. "That might be — you know, if I start drinking again, you might be able to get me to do it."

That last comment was a small slip for someone who guards his privacy as closely as Hoffman does, but it says something about his past and his discipline.

Hoffman says he doesn't drink and went into rehab at a fairly early age. "I got sober when I was 22 years old," he says.

Asked if it was drugs, alcohol or both, Hoffman says, "It was all that stuff. Yeah. It was anything I could get my hands on. Yeah. Yeah. I liked it all."

Why did he decide to stop?

"You get panicked. You get panicked," Hoffman said. "I was 22, and I got panicked for my life. It really was just that."

He said if he hadn't stopped it would have killed him and there were things he wanted to do. Since then, he seems to have accomplished a lot of them. After years of acting with his name below the title, his career and his life are about to change.

He has just finished shooting "Mission: Impossible: 3," as the villain opposite Tom Cruise, and with the awards season in full swing he has been spending a lot more time in Hollywood.

"Yeah, there's a lot of dreaming that goes on out here … there are a lot of people that come to this town, you know, to see themselves on a billboard," he said, laughing. "You know, to see their name in lights or whatever, yeah. That dream, you know?"

He is quick to share credit for his work and wanted 60 Minutes to be sure to include his friends and collaborators Dan Futterman and Bennett Miller in this story, so we invited them over to the hotel for a few hands of poker, along with Hoffman's older brother, Gordy, who is also a film director.

Asked what he thought when he first met Phil, Bennett Miller says, "Before I liked Phil, I noticed that everybody else liked him. I can't think of anybody ever saying a bad word about Phil.

"I thought you said he was a pain in the ass," Kroft said.

"But I liked him," Miller said, laughing.

"This is such a bad idea," Hoffman interjected.

The kibitzing was good natured. After all, Futterman, Miller and Hoffman are already big winners, each has his own Oscar nomination for "Capote." They all say it doesn't matter if they win or not, but it was hard to tell if they are bluffing. One of them was concentrating on the poker game more than the others.

"I'm gonna put in a dollar for you, Steve, because I know you're gonna bet because I saw what you have," Hoffman said.

"OK, thank you," Kroft replied.

So when you are making your pick for best actor in the office Oscar pool, you might think twice before betting against Philip Seymour Hoffman.

"That's a low pair, and that's a straight," Hoffman said, revealing his cards.

"You sandbagged, man," Kroft said.

"The whole time he knew, though, he knew he had you all the time," Gordy Hoffman said.

"I'm working here and you're just stealing the money," Kroft said.

"All right," Hoffman replied.
By John Hamlin
  • Daniel Schorn

60 Minutes App

New Look. New Season. The 60 Minutes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch!

More from 60 Minutes

Comments