1. “Stay, Little Valentine.” Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967-2014
“He was not un-photographable; quite the contrary, he was magnetic, even in roles that gave him a handful of lines. But he was not a matinee idol and never pretended to be. In most of his roles he was heavy, round. His early parts often cast him as a big, soft man poured into clothes that didn’t fit. He looked like an utterly ordinary fellow you might see in daily life, at a bus stop or in an electronics store or in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and not think twice about—unless, perhaps, you got a close look at his face, and sensed the lacerating and self-lacerating intelligence in his eyes and smile; or if you heard his rumbling voice. When Hoffman opened his mouth to speak, he sounded smart, but often not as as smart as his characters imagined or wished themselves to be. That sense of mis-estimation always added to the performance by connecting it to reality. We’re never what we imagine ourselves to be. We’re always a bit less—or a bit off.” [More remembrances from Max Winter, Dana Stevens, and Owen Gleiberman.]
2. “Oscar-Winning Actor Maximilian Schell Dies at 83.” The actor won his Oscar in 1962 and later was honored with nominations for “The Man in the Glass Booth” in 1975, and for best supporting actor in “Julia” in 1977.
“The son of Swiss playwright Hermann Ferdinand Schell and Austrian stage actress Noe von Nordberg, Schell was born in Vienna on Dec. 8, 1930 and raised in Switzerland after his family fled Germany’s annexation of his homeland. Schell followed in the footsteps of his older sister Maria and brother Carl, making his stage debut in 1952. He then appeared in a number of German films before relocating to Hollywood in 1958. He also made an engrossing documentary on Marlene Dietrich, who had played an S.S. officer’s widow in Judgment at Nuremberg. However, Dietrich backed out on participating in the documentary at the last minute; nevertheless, Schell created a captivating portrait of her, utilizing audio interviews over an array of clips and images.”
3. “Kristin Scott Thomas: ’I cannot cope with another film.’” She’s the go-to actor for elegant despair—but after 20 years, Kristin Scott Thomas is done with movies. She talks shambolic film sets, French mistresses and the joys of saying non.
“She is tired, too, of being cast in films that need her more than she needs them. ’I’m often asked to do something because I’m going to be a sort of weight to their otherwise flimsy production. They need me for production purposes, basically. So they give me a little role in something where they know I’m going to be able to turn up, know what to do, cry in the right place. I shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds, but I keep doing these things for other people, and last year I just decided life’s too short. I don’t want to do it any more.’”
4. “An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow.” Dylan Farrow’s story, in her own words.
“What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.”
5. “New York Court Archivist Isn’t Letting Retirement Stop Him.” The New York Times profiles Bruce Abrams, father of our own Simon Abrams.
“To his credit, Mr. Abrams managed to stay home in Great Neck, N.Y., on Monday and Tuesday. But after that, he was back reporting to his supervisor—er, ex-supervisor—Joseph Van Nostrand in Room 708, which is filled with huge old indexes. Mr. Abrams was given a bottle of Champagne on his last day and had to turn in his key and his employee identification, which meant he could no longer skip the metal detector in the lobby, nor open the office early on his own. He has technically become an unpaid volunteer, and he figures he will work several days a week while collecting his pension. His wife, Catherine, understands, as do their two grown children. Certainly the short-staffed office was grateful. There is no manual for this job, and there are few labels on the shelves. Much of the work is mapped in Mr. Abrams’s mind.”
Video of the Day: A video remembrance of Philip Seymour Hoffman by Nelson Carvajal:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.