Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Son Cooper Is the Star of Paul Thomas Anderson’s New Movie

     September 3, 2020


Production has quietly gotten underway on Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, and information has been trickling out slowly – largely due to set photos snapped of PTA and his cast and crew filming in the street. That’s how we learned that Bradley Cooper is in the film (which is set in the 1970s), but now we know who the movie’s lead character will be played by: Cooper Hoffman, the son of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Per THR, Cooper Hoffman is playing a child actor in the film – a character who’s at the center of the movie. The coming-of-age story is said to involve multiple storylines set in the San Fernando Valley, boasting an ensemble of actors, but Cooper Hoffman and singer-songwriter Alana Haim are reportedly playing the central roles.


Image via Focus Features

This is an extremely touching piece of news. Philip Seymour Hoffman first worked with PTA on Anderson’s first feature Hard Eight, and the two forged a close friendship and collaboration that also included Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, and their final film together – and Hoffman’s starring role – The Master, before the actor’s tragic death. Hoffman seemed to be exactly on PTA’s wavelength throughout, consistently stealing the show, and anyone who’s watched any of the behind-the-scenes features for Magnolia or Boogie Nights knows the two enjoyed a close camaraderie. So the inclusion of Cooper Hoffman here really warms the heart.

Hoffman and Haim are making their feature debuts in the movie, but Haim has actually been working for years with PTA as the filmmaker has taken an interest in directing pretty much all the music videos for the band HAIM, in which Alana plays with her two sisters.

The notion that this new film is an ensemble movie is also exciting, as PTA has recently been on a tear of crafting two-handers like Phantom Thread and There Will Be Blood. This may be more akin to 2014’s Inherent Vice, or perhaps even more excitingly, closer to the structure of Boogie Nights or Magnolia.

The untitled project was originally set up at Focus Features but recently moved over to MGM. No release date has been set, but with production underway, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to expect it sometime in 2021.

For more on PTA, check out our not-at-all-controversial ranking of all of his films.

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