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The Last Movie Philip Seymour Hoffman Was In Before He Died

Hard as it is to believe, nearly seven years have passed since an accidental overdose tragically cut short the life of screen great Philip Seymour Hoffman. Most film lovers would agree a gaping hole remains in the cinematic landscape due to his absence. And purely in terms of legacy, few actors in history have ever achieved the same sort of universal adoration Hoffman boasted at the time of his passing.

That legacy was culled from over two decades worth of memorable work on stage and screen — decades that saw Philip Seymour Hoffman keeping busier than most, typically cranking out several movies a year along the way. Even as busy as he was, Hoffman somehow still managed to imbue every character he played — from minor supporting parts to the scene chewing leads — with a singular sense of authenticity. In doing so, he assembled the sort of big screen resume any actor would envy.He also managed to work with some of the greatest filmmakers of the modern era, a list that includes the Coen Brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Lee, Sidney Lumet, and Bennett Miller, to name a few. Much of Philip Seymour Hoffman's oeuvre is, of course, born of the indie cinema set, but he developed a knack for choosing intriguing studio projects over the years as well, lining up scene-stealing roles in the likes of TwisterAlmost Famous, and J.J. Abrams' franchise-saving Mission: Impossible III.

As it happens, the last film Hoffman appeared in was also one of the biggest he'd ever booked. And even if his die-hard fans would undoubtedly have preferred to see him go out with another blistering turn in a low-budget feature, they'd also agree his work in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 was as solid as anything he'd ever done.

The Hunger Games' franchise finale was a much bigger affair than most of Hoffman's films

Yes, the final chapter in the billion-dollar The Hunger Games franchise was indeed Philip Seymour Hoffman's last big screen appearance. The actor joined the franchise as the propaganda-loving rebellion organizer Plutarch Heavensbee in the series' second film, 2013's Catching Fire, and later returned for the final two-part film Mockingjay, the first half of which released in 2014 just months after the actor's death. 

In fact, Hoffman passed away before he actually finished filming on Mockingjay – Part 2, a fact that led the film's director Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend) to completely re-imagine one of seminal moments in the entirety of The Hunger Games canon. That moment found Plutarch Heavensbee consoling and inspiring franchise heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in the aftermath of unthinkable tragedy: Without the man himself to breathe life into the moment, Heavensbee's words were brought forth in the form of a letter, read aloud by Woody Harrelson's Haymitch Abernathy.

One can imagine that powerful moment was likely what led Hoffman to join the cast of The Hunger Games franchise to begin with, and the scene understandably lacks gravitas without Hoffman's commanding screen presence. Nonetheless, the spirit of the man still shines through, and even in Hoffman's absence, Plutarch's influence can be felt in virtually every moment that came after. That's largely because Hoffman himself brought such a charismatic stoicism to the character, and thus felt omnipresent even from his first appearance in Catching Fire

The same could be said for virtually every character Philip Seymour Hoffman played throughout his storied career. And sure, it might've been nice if the actor's last film had been a no-budget character study, but when one delivered the goods as often as Hoffman did, the final screen appearance is hardly the point.