Justin Long Pens Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman 9 Years After His Death

Justin Long and Philip Seymour Hoffman
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Hoffman died in 2014. He was 46.

Justin Long is remembering his friend and fellow actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, on the 9th anniversary of his death. Long took to Instagram Thursday to pen a tribute to Hoffman, who died in February 2014 at the age of 46.

"Thinking about Phil Hoffman today. Can’t believe it’s been 9 years…Sam Rockwell and I were shooting the movie 'Galaxy Quest' (my first) in the summer of '99. One day Sam said 'My friend Phil is gonna stop by a little later.' I tried to play it cool but it must’ve been obvious how excited I was at even the possibility that the 'Phil' he was referring to was 'Seymour Hoffman,'" Long recalled, sharing a photo of him alongside Rockwell and Hoffman. "When he drove up to where we all were, I was immediately struck by how boisterous and jokey he was with Sam and our other friend, Leif - definitely not a 'Philip' but a 'Phil.' Knowing what a huge fan I was, Sam wanted to introduce us and I am forever grateful that he did."

Likening him to one of his acting idols, his "Meryl Streep." Long said that he still often thinks of Hoffman's catalog of work and acting prowess whenever he's stuck in a scene.

"When I was the young eager actor you see in this picture, Phil was an acting god to me - my Meryl Streep or Marlon Brando. He still is. Whenever I’m stuck in a scene I often find myself thinking 'What would Phil do?' - it always grounds me in the truth," he continued.

While his skills in front of the camera are something Long looks up to, the 44-year-actor noted that he also misses Hoffman's laugh, and said he can still hear it nine years later.

"When I think of him now I can also still hear his laugh. He’d laugh so hard he’d get a little wheezy and his eyes glistened with emerging tears - full and bold and lacking even a hint of self-consciousness," Long shared. "He laughed the way he acted. Today I’m missing both ❤️ #tbt."

Long has often memorialized Hoffman on the anniversary of his death, last penning an Instagram tribute to the late Hunger Games star in 2021. In the heartfelt post, Long once again thought back to Hoffman's infectious laugh.

"It’s been seven years since Phil passed away. Years before that, in the early 2000’s, we were in a crowded restaurant (El Compadre on Sunset Blvd) and Phil was telling a really funny story about an embarrassing thing that had happened to him. Rather than lean in and whisper the most embarrassing part to us, so as to spare himself the shame of onlookers judgement, he stood up from the table and committed to a full-body mime of it, while laughing his great big wheezy laugh," Long said. 

He continued, "As funny as it was, I immediately became a little self conscious on his behalf and looked around the restaurant to see people’s reactions. Phil was an acting god to me so I just assumed everyone recognized him but even if they didn’t, they were now staring at him - he was laughing so hard his face had turned pink and his eyes were watering. But what struck me most about Phil, in that moment, was how unaware he was of anything outside the story he was telling and the people he was telling it to - he lived that moment the way he lived every moment as an actor: fully present and committed and without a hint of self consciousness. It was beautiful - something I’ll never forget and always aspire to."

"I can’t wait to have another night out with friends at a place like El Compadre, telling stories and laughing," Long added before signing off, "But I don’t think I’ll ever have a night quite like that one, because nobody tells stories or laughs with quite as much abandon as Phil did 😌❤️."