Greatest Actor of His Generation? If anyone deserves that label it may well be Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died yesterday of a suspected drug overdose in his New York apartment, aged just 46. Hoffman’s work – from film-stealing supporting turns in ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ and ‘Almost Famous’ to grandstanding lead roles in ‘Capote’ and ‘The Master’ – was consistently brave, insightful and bold. With his defiantly un-chiselled frame and sad-sack expression, he seemed able to mine the emotions more deeply than most performers, and he never, ever shied away from a challenge. I had the task of interviewing Hoffman twice, first for his directorial debut ‘Jack Goes Boating’ and shortly after for George Clooney’s political drama ‘The Ides of March’. I’ll admit, he wasn’t the easiest man to interview, famously close-mouthed and severe. But he was also powerfully intelligent and disarmingly honest, a serious artist who took his work to heart and kept it there. Tom Huddleston
Read our list of the ten essential Philip Seymour Hoffman performances.