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Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs: 'Almost Famous' star Patrick Fugit remembers

When Patrick Fugit woke up Sunday morning and learned via Facebook that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died in New York, he had a surprising first thought. It wasn’t a flashback to Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical coming-of-age movie that starred Fugit as a teenage rock journalist and Hoffman as iconic critic Lester Bangs. “I started immediately thinking about Punch-Drunk Love, which is one of my favorite films that he’s in,” says Fugit, who’s currently filming Gone Girl for David Fincher. “Have you seen the Mattress Man commercial that he’s in? It’s just a deleted scene from the Punch-Drunk Love special edition where he basically jumps onto these mattresses from atop a semi truck and he misses them and falls on the ground. It looks like Philip really wrecks himself. It totally looks real, and it’s genius and hilarious. I don’t know why, but that was the first thing I thought of.”

But after that initial memory, Fugit couldn’t help but reflect on the scenes he shared with Hoffman in Almost Famous. The young actor was only 16 years old at the time and had no clue who Hoffman was when the esteemed actor arrived on the set for three days of filming. Below, as told to EW, Fugit looks back on those pivotal scenes and how they made a lasting impact on him as an actor.
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Cameron Crowe remembers Philip Seymour Hoffman

After the sudden death of Philip Seymour Hoffman yesterday, tributes have been pouring in. Joining those voices today is director Cameron Crowe, who wrote a blog post with his memories of working with Hoffman on the set of Almost Famous, where of course Hoffman portrayed rock journalist Lester Bangs.

Alongside the above photo, Crowe wrote, “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 one of Hoffman’s memorable scene from Almost Famous below: READ FULL STORY

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a bravura actor who made his pain a timeless expression of us all

I’ll never forget the moment I first sat up and took notice of Philip Seymour Hoffman — the moment that I knew I loved him as an actor and knew, as well, that he was a different kind of great actor from anyone I’d ever seen. It was the moment in Boogie Nights (1997) when Hoffman’s Scotty J., the boom-mike operator who has spent most of the film hanging around the sidelines of the porn set, a sweetly insecure dude in long red hair, his gut poking out of his ’70s tank tops, confesses to Dirk Diggler that he’s got a crush on him. This comes as news to Dirk — and news to the audience as well, since we didn’t know that Scotty was gay, because it’s clearly something that he was hiding from the world. Drunk, and a little less shy because of it, Scotty shows Dirk his new sports car, which he thinks will impress him (it doesn’t), and he then tries to lay a smooch on him, which Dirk, in this paleo-days-of-gay-liberation era, thinks is beyond weird. But that’s the rejection that Scotty’s been living in terror of, and now that it’s happened, he breaks down. READ FULL STORY

From 'Say Anything' to 'The Spectacular Now': A teen-classic film series

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Teen movies about misfits and popular kids getting together are being celebrated in “The Spectacular Classics” screening series across the country this month.

Favorites like Say Anything and Almost Famous will be shown in various Landmark Theaters (along with the Angelika in Dallas and the Los Feliz in Los Angeles) across the country. Theaters and filmmakers have teamed up with The Spectacular Now to bring moviegoers this nostalgic, romantic film series leading up to the film’s premiere. The screenings will feature an exclusive video intro by screenwriters Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter. Each audience member will also receive a ticket to an advance screening of The Spectacular Now, which opens in limited release on August 2.

The full schedule of films and locations is below:
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