Monday night The Observer found ourselves pulled into a full-on huddle with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell and Billy Crudup.
“Sam is our spokesman,” Hoffman said, pointing to his fellow actor.
The three of them had come to the Hudson Hotel for a particularly raucous after-party celebrating LAByrinth Theater’s “Celebrity Charades 2010: Fight Night,” in which actors and other luminaries do battle in a series of competitions. The main event was held in St. Paul of the Apostle Church Hall, and before long the crowd had shifted over to the Hudson Bar and were taking full advantage of the open bar. As we dodged actors such as Juliette Lewis and Justin Theroux, Billy Crudup pulled us into the scrum.
We asked about the event, naturally, but it became evident that Sam Rockwell had no intention of staying on topic.
“I love Monopoly,” Sam Rockwell said.
“I’m a huge fan of Monopoly.” Rockwell repeated, taking a slug of his Negro Modelo. “I’m a buyer and a seller.”
Phillip Seymour Hoffman nodded. “Sam will buy Baltic and Boardwalk–you know what I mean?” he added in slow serious beats.
“Sam is famous for his financial wherewithal,” Billy said, emphasizing the last word with a jab of the right hand. At this point, Crudup’s baby blue shirt was unbuttoned to the undershirt, and he was wearing metal cowboy belt buckle.
“He’s known to not buy a house or a hotel but a little hut,” Hoffman said with his glance askew, tilted toward the dancefloor. When we’d first walked in, his figure could be easily spotted dancing and twirling a member of the opposite sex in and under his arm.
Then Crudup again, with the same open-fisted jab: “His real estate acumen is off the charts!”
“It’s fricken weird how that happens…” Hoffman wondered. It seems he was stuck on Sam Rockwell’s little huts. “He actually builds them…”
“Take us through it step by step!” Crudup asked Rockwell.
There was a pause, long, pregnant even, and then Sam Rockwell looked The Observer in the face.
“I love, I love… I love people” he said.
And with that the charade, if you will, came to an end.
“Everyone has a great time as you can see,” Philip said. “It’s a bit of a reunion, actually. A lot of us don’t see each other until this event. And it’s a good night, you know?”
Is there another song, Philip Seymour Hoffman, that will bring you back to the dance floor?
“Oh, hey no,” the actor said. “That was my girlfriend–she started dancing and I felt, you know, compelled.”
Then we were talking with Billy Crudup about Almost Famous, in which he plays guitarist Russell Hammond, and about how the film helped lead us toward a career in journalism.
“I love that shit!” Crudup exclaimed. “I’m gonna write Cameron.”
Oh no, Billy, you really don’t have to write Cameron Crowe about this, we said.
“Nope,” Billy Crudup said, “I’m gonna write Cameron.”