Philip Seymour Hoffman's death mourned in Winnipeg

Philip Seymour Hoffman has left a lasting impression in Winnipeg, even though he was there for a relatively brief period of time almost a decade ago to film parts of Capote, the movie for which he won an Oscar.

Capote star remembered as 'an actor's actor' and a hockey fan

In this March 2006 photo, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman poses with the Oscar he won for best actor for his work in Capote. Police say Hoffman was found dead in his apartment on Sunday. He was 46 years old. (Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press)

Philip Seymour Hoffman has left a lasting impression in Winnipeg, even though he was there for a relatively brief period of time almost a decade ago to film parts of Capote, the movie for which he won an Oscar.

The 46-year-old actor was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday morning.

Hoffman won an Academy Award for best actor for his leading role in the 2005 biographical film, in which he played writer Truman Capote. Much of the movie was shot in and around Winnipeg.

Winnipeg film producer Kyle Irving, who worked on Capote, said Hoffman had a huge impact on the local film scene.

"The film we made together kind of has defined the Manitoba film industry," Irving told CBC News on Monday.

"He did a lot for me and Manitoba."

Irving said he was shocked, but not surprised, to hear Hoffman may have died of a drug overdose, adding that many knew of the actor's struggles with addictions.

After 23 years sober, Hoffman admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab.

Talked about hockey

Kenny Boyce, the City of Winnipeg's manager of film and special events, said Hoffman "just leaves quite the impression on you, even though his nature is to be shy."

Boyce said Hoffman made the most of his time in Winnipeg, becoming instant friends with people he met.

"He was in Winnipeg a lot," Boyce recalled.

"He got out in the community. The night I met him, we'd gone out for a bite to eat. It was cold. It was winter, downtown Winnipeg. And we talked a lot about hockey, actually. Manitoba, Winnipeg hockey and Minnesota hockey."

Boyce said people in Manitoba's film industry, a tight-knit group, will be especially sad to hear of the actor's death.

"It'll be a tremendous loss to our community," he said.

"It's not a large film community here, but we spend long days with them. On a film set, we film 12 hours. Those days turn into 15 hours a day, sometime six, seven days a week. So you get to know people in a brief period of time but spend a lot of time with them."

Often stayed in character

Boyce said Hoffman was a formidable presence on the set.

"He was very gifted. He stayed in character quite often during the filming of Capote," he said. "He was very witty and very funny…. There was humour in everything he did.

"So it's a tremendous sense of loss … of such a great, creative and brilliant individual, an amazing actor."

Winnipegger Chris Read played a bit part in Capote, and though he never got to meet Hoffman, watched him on the set.

"It was exciting to be in a movie with a guy like that," Read said. "He was an actor's actor."

Read added that watching Hoffman stay in character, even when he wasn't filming, was inspiring.

"He was standing very close to me and when he appeared on set before he started shooting his scene, he was in character for a long period, just kind of engaging in a Truman Capote-style patter," he said, adding that Hoffman was "having fun in character."

"As an actor, it was inspiring and kind of amazing," Read said. "It was kind of a revelation to me that, wow, actors really do do that kind of thing and it wasn't something you questioned. It was just funny and amusing and something [special]."

Read said it's "stunning and sad" that Hoffman is gone.

With files from Thomson Reuters