Film

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Saved Ten Lives, Writes Aaron Sorkin In A Heartfelt Obituary

The showrunner and recovering addict wrote about his private conversations with Hoffman on the set of 'Charlie Wilson's War' for Time.

Over the past few days, numerous famous folks have stepped forward with their own personal tributes to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Cameron Crowe took to his blog to remember the way Hoffman exceeded his own vision for Almost Famous‘s now iconic ‘Uncool’ scene; Patrick Fugit described the way Hoffman challenged him to aim for greater heights in the same film; everyone from Jeff Bridges to Steve Martin offered their condolences online; and now Aaron Sorkin — the West Wing and Newsroom creator, who wrote the screenplay for Hoffman’s Charlie Wilson’s War — has taken to Time Magazine to pen his own heartfelt obituary to the actor.

Sorkin — a recovering addict, who’s often discussed his once crippling cocaine habit — described the “mini AA meetings” he and Hoffman would have on the film’s set, where they traded war stories following rehearsals and table-reads. “I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles,” writes Sorkin. “He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: ‘If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.’ He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean.”

“It’s in that spirit that I’d like to say this: Phil Hoffman, this kind, decent, magnificent, thunderous actor, who was never outwardly ‘right’ for any role but who completely dominated the real estate upon which every one of his characters walked, did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine,” Sorkin continues.

“He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it. He’ll have his well-earned legacy — his Willy Loman that belongs on the same shelf with Lee J. Cobb’s and Dustin Hoffman’s, his Jamie Tyrone, his Truman Capote and his Academy Award. Let’s add to that 10 people who were about to die who won’t now.”

Read Sorkin’s piece in its entirety here.