SCREEN GEM: State and Main (2000)

By EW Staff
Updated February 17, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Great role: Philip Seymour Hoffman in ”State and Main”

PREMISE This David Mamet farce centers on Joseph Turner White (Hoffman), a rising playwright who has written a screenplay about ”the quest for purity.” But he finds himself up to his eyeballs in moral and artistic compromise when the movie shoots in a New England hamlet that’s all too eager to be corrupted by Hollywood. He also falls in love with a sharp-witted local, bookstore owner Ann Black (Rebecca Pidgeon, pictured).

FUN FACT There’s a hilarious fake promotional website for The Old Mill, the Joe White-scripted movie, that completely glosses over the disastrous production history depicted in State and Main.

WHY IT’S GREAT In a career marked by small but juicy character roles, the chameleonlike Hoffman finally got his first chance in this film to prove he could play a movie’s hero.

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