True Detective Dream Casting: Phillip Seymour Hoffman


Consider this piece a simple example in wish fulfillment. With Philip Seymour Hoffman’s all too recent passing, a role on True Detective is quite obviously out of the picture. But dreaming is one of the things that we can do here, and so can at the very least imagine what a Hoffman-led version of True Detective would be like.

Although he wasn’t known for taking on roles that easily fit within the scope of True Detective, neither did Matthew McConaughey, so perhaps that’s a unit of measurement that has been proven faulty. At the end of the day there were few actors who were as charismatic as Hoffman while being able to bring a very believable sinister undertone. You can see this in his recent work as Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and as the cult leader Lancaster Dodd in The Master. Both of these roles see Hoffman as an intelligent, charismatic figure whose presence and mannerisms create a palpable sense of foreboding.

And isn’t that what True Detective has so far been all about? The horror just underneath the surface.

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There are simply two many options to choose from to prove Hoffman would have been right for the role. It’s a fact that he gave a show-stealing performance in almost every film he ever did. Even his less than 15 minutes in The Big Lebowski are worth seeing. It’s easy to list actors simply because they’re well known or have had some measure of success, but there have been few actors that have been able to take on so many roles and being able to play them all so well. You can easily peek through The 25th Hour, Capote, The Savages, Doubt, and find kernels of what would make a great True Detective character.

To get the best out of Hoffman, it’s possible that a leading role such as the one that Collin Farrel is rumored to be up wouldn’t really fit the bill. Something more of a villain would probably play more to his skill set in a production like this. Hoffman would be able to successfully pull of that classic charismatic and fiendishly intelligent villain without coming off as cheesy or to over the top. Not that we know that’s the direction that writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto is currently going in. This is all a dream, remember?

It’s a true shame that we’ll never get to even scramble of the rumors of Philip Seymour Hoffman on True Detective. But make no mistake, he would have done a damn fine job of it.