Phillip Seymour Hoffman rocks the boat on 'Pirate Radio'
'Pirate Radio,' the immensely likeable new comedy by 'Four Weddings and A Funeral' and 'Notting Hill' writer and director Richard Curtis, features Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in a role that’s a welcome departure from the much heavier dramas he excels at.
In the new comedy flick, which opens Friday, Seymour Hoffman plays The Count, a quicksilver American D.J. who helps brings rock and roll to the masses aided by his eccentric British D.J. pals on board a pirate radio ship anchored far out in the North Sea in the 1960’s.
When young Carl (played by up and coming British star Tom Sturridge) comes aboard the old tanker, he discovers a freewheeling world of hippies, artists and freethinkers that transform his life in a heartbeat.
As the fast talking, quick thinking Count, we see a playful side to Seymour Hoffman (who’s mother is Marilyn O'Connor, the lawyer and civil rights activist) that has been under served in the dramas that have made his name, from his Academy Award-winning turn in Capote, to his work opposite Meryl Streep in Irish American playwright John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt.
“I read the script and I thought it was really funny,” Seymour Hoffman tells IrishCentral. “It was also oddly moving, because rock and roll is actually that important. That’s the very subversive message of this movie, that these guys were the conduits to bring that art, that music, to the people. These were the guys who did it.”
Naturally the rock music of the period is an integral part of the film, and the screen comes alive with blasts of The Kinks, The Turtles, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, among many others. It’s the pop music of an era that Seymour Hoffman obviously loves, but don’t ask him to talk about it from personal experience.
“I wasn’t very familiar with the story of pirate radio in Britain in the 1960’s. I was born in 1967, so I was a baby around the time this film is taking place. But I do remember hearing all that music from the back of the car when I was six in 1973. Sitting there without a seatbelt on, with the people in the front smoking. Listening to all the music that you hear in this film.”
In the film the British government has secretly vowed to stem this “filthy rock music” with every means at their disposal. Belfast-born Kenneth Branagh scene steals as the Whitehall official on a mission to purge Britain of the scourge of lurid pop. The script also teams Branagh up with his ex-wife Emma Thompson (they divorced acrimoniously in 1995), although neither appears in the same scene. For fans of Branagh’s storied career, that reunion will be worth the price of the ticket alone.
For Seymour Hoffman, Pirate Radio’s message is as vital today as when the music was first recorded. In fact, for him it doesn’t matter if the vehicle is music, film, literature or theater.
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- Nelson Mandela once considered a terrorist...
- Sarah Palin is saving Christmas
- An open letter in strong defence of capitalism.
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...
- Photo shows Irish revolutionaries three years...
- Bono, Gerry Adams, President Higgins all...