Cameron Crowe remembers pivotal Philip Seymour Hoffman scene in 'Almost Famous'

Philip Seymour Hoffman played rock critic Lester Bangs.
Posted By Kate Stanton  |  Feb. 3, 2014 at 7:24 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool," Philip Seymour Hoffman's Lester Bangs tells lovelorn teenager William Miller in one of Almost Famous' most powerful scenes. That line was the inspiration for director Cameron Crowe's website, "The Uncool," where he posted a moving tribute to the late actor on Monday.

Crowe remembered Hoffman's "soulful" and "compassionate" take on Bangs, though he'd originally conceived of the scene as "loud." Hoffman felt that it deserved a quieter treatment.

My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms. In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie. In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.

Watch a clip below:

Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment on Sunday of a suspected drug overdose. Police reportedly discovered 70 bags of heroin in the apartment, along with anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxers and other medications.

He is survived by his partner Mimi -- they were reportedly estranged at the time of his death -- and his three children.

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