Philip Seymour Hoffman may live on with aid of digital technology

Computer effects and camera tricks could be used to insert late actor into his unfinished films

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 February, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 February, 2014, 4:48am

Philip Seymour Hoffman did not finish filming the last two installments in the blockbuster Hunger Games series before his death - but digital technology may help filmmakers complete the job.

Computer effects and camera tricks could be used to insert Hoffman, who died of an apparent heroin overdose, into at least one as-yet-unfilmed scene, according to one movie executive.

Studio Lionsgate said just after the Oscar-winning actor died last week that the tragedy would not disrupt production of Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, which is due for release in November, and Part 2, due in theatres in November 2015.

Hoffman had completed his work for the first instalment, and had seven days of filming left for the final film, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The industry journal cited an unnamed executive as saying that there was one major scene featuring Hoffman in the final film which had not yet been shot, and that filmmakers were confident they could work around it.

"They seem to have plans that don't seem very complicated" to complete both pictures without Hoffman, the Lionsgate executive said, adding: "You can do digital things, you can have conversations where you're not focusing on him but the people he's talking to."

Rob Legato, a veteran effects supervisor not working on the Hunger Games films, said: "I won't say you could generate a Philip Seymour Hoffman with all the acting ability, but you could certainly replicate him for a shot or two." Legato worked on Martin Scorsese's latest movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Actors who have died part way through a film production include Heath Ledger, whose role in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was taken over by three actors - Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell in dream-world transformations - after his 2008 death.

River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993, forcing the cancellation of Dark Blood, although the film was eventually given a limited release by director George Sluizer in 2012.

The latest instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise was put on hold after the death of star Paul Walker in a high-speed car accident in November.

Meanwhile, family and close friends of Hoffman farewelled the actor at a private funeral at the Church of St Ignatius Loyola on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Joaquin Phoenix, Mary Louise Parker and Chris Rock were among the Hollywood stars who attended the service.

Blanchett, who spoke at the funeral, braved the cold in a long black coat as the hearse bearing Hoffman's coffin pulled away from the church on Park Avenue.

She declined to comment as tears streamed down her face.

New York director and screenwriter Amos Poe said the funeral "was beautiful, just like Phil".

Hoffman, whose body was discovered last Sunday in his Greenwich Village apartment with a syringe in his arm, is survived by his estranged long-term partner, costume designer Mimi O'Donnell, and their three young children, Cooper, Tallulah and Willa.