Friday, February 7, 2014

Film Friday: Anthony Minghella and Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Today’s Film Friday draws your attention to the work of director Anthony Minghella. Specifically the work Minghella did in two films with the recently deceased actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman.


Minghella and Hoffman first worked together in 1999 on The Talented Mr. Ripley and collaborated again a few years later on Cold Mountain, Minghella's ambitious adaptation of Charles Frazier's American Civil War romance. In both films Jude Law was given the starring role, but it’s actually Hoffman who Minghella name-checks in a 2003 interview with Andrew Pulver from The Guardian.

On the topic of putting together a team that not only makes the film better but ultimately helps him grow as a director, Minghella had this to say (emphasis added):

It’s been a preoccupation of mine,” Minghella says, “to put together a film crew that will travel with me and help me. Being a writer-director can sometimes make you incredibly blinkered. You need to have a group around you sufficiently muscular and curmudgeonly to take issue with you, to teach you.  
And if you work with the same actors you can progress from film to film, rather than constantly having to start again in describing your film language, or describing the way you work best. I love working with Phil Hoffman—why wouldn’t you? He has made me better, and that’s all I’m trying to do. It’s self-serving in that way. But it’s also an issue of loyalty— they’ve helped me, and I owe them.”

Below is a memorable scene starring Hoffman as Reverend Veasey in Cold Mountain.

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