“In 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Hoffman had to audition five times for the role of the preppy George Willis Jr. who rats out Chris O’Donnell—an act of betrayal for which a generation of cinemagoers remains eternally grateful. Leonine, entitled, freckled, boorish, Hoffman’s bully seemed to own the air breathed by others. It was this performance that caught the attention of Paul Thomas Anderson, who was to cast him in ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Punch-Drunk Love’, playing exactly the kind of pudgy self-haters George Willis Jr would have rounded on mercilessly. It is almost as if Hoffman were playing his own tormentor.”
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