Actor Bob Hoskins died today at the age of 71 following a bout of pneumonia.
Hoskins, who was retired when he passed away, was famed for his roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), and more recently, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012).
James Delingpole looks at the life and career of Hoskins, and presents the top 9 reasons why we at Breitbart London will miss the old son-of-a-communist:
1. His salty turn of phrase. Here he is describing the process by which he would assess film scripts:
Cold bum test. I take it [the script] to the khazi in the morning and ifI end up with a cold arse I think: This has got to be a good script. Ifyou notice you’ve got pins and needles you think: Fuck me, this must bea good one.
Finest acting moment of his career. Finest acting moment of almost anyone’s career. [PLOT SPOILER ALERT] We watch as realisation dawns: it’s over. All his expectations of how it would be, all the power he spent a lifetime of aggression and hard graft accumulating, all his authority trashed by one stroke of bad luck. His face changes from fear, to horror, to resignation, to sharkish amusement…
‘For that last shot,’ he says, ‘[Director] John Mackenzie said I’m going to put thecamera on your face Bob for five minutes and I want you to just think yourway through the film. I said “you’re f—ing joking, ain’t you?” So Ithought my way through the film and there you see it in the final edit.
In early 1986, a script arrived in the post at Bob Hoskins’ house for a filmcalled The Untouchables, with a note attached from the director Brian DePalma asking him to read it and then come to Los Angeles to discuss the roleof Al Capone.
to play him,'” recalled Hoskins in an interview, years later. “I thought,’Well, great. What am I doing here?'”
He was there, it transpired, because of De Niro’s proposed fee, which wascausing much consternation at Paramount. De Palma agreed to sign Hoskins asa back-up for the role on a ‘pay or play’ contract and in the end, De Nirogot the part.
and it was a cheque for £20,000,” he recalled. “It said, ‘Thanks for yourtime Bob, love Brian.’ I phoned him up and I said, ‘Brian, if you’ve evergot any other films you don’t want me in, son, you just give me a call.'”
This is a vintage Hoskins anecdote: uproariously self-deprecating and toldwith such impeccable modesty it borders on fibbing. He tactfully omitted twodetails from the story. Firstly, that he was Paramount’s first choice forthe role, and the studio only caved to De Palma’s demand for De Niro overfears the film lacked sufficient star power. And secondly, the amount hereceived was closer to £120,000 than £20,000.
One of the things I’ve realised is that I am very simple. My wife asked meonce if I loved her. I said: “Look love, I’m a simple man. I love you. Endof story.” But I guess you gotta keep saying it with women. I guess sheneeded reassurance. Blokes are very arrogant, they always assume the womanstill loves them.’
‘I think I went a bit mad while working on that. Lost my mind. The voice ofthe rabbit was there just behind the camera all the time. You had to knowwhere the rabbit would be at every angle. Then there was Jessica Rabbit andall these weasels. The trouble was, I had learnt how to hallucinate. Mydaughter had an invisible friend called Jeffrey and I played with her andthis invisible friend until one day I actually saw the friend.
6. He always looked on the bright side of life.
[This from a 2009 interview, before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s]
‘Dementia will be a friend. It will grin at me and say: “How you going son?”I’ll be like my dad. He phoned me up one day and said: “The mafia islaundering money through my bank account.” I shot round there and realisedit was the pocket money I was giving him. “You prat,” I said. “It’s themoney I’ve been paying into your account.”‘
7. He was game for anything.
A friend of mine who was working with a circus group saw me and asked,you know, “Do you want to do a season in the circus?” So I said, “Yeah,I’ll try that.” I learned to do a fire act; I was a clown and aringmaster, and I used to do an escape act, as well.
8. He came from nowhere and lived the dream.
Hoskins left school at 15 with one O-level and drifted from job to job:porter, lorry-driver, window cleaner. He then did a three-year accountancycourse but dropped out.
His life changed dramatically in 1968 when he accompanied a friend to anaudition and got mistaken for a candidate. He was asked to read for a partand ended up being given the lead. As soon as he started acting he knew itwas for him.
9. He may have disliked Margaret Thatcher – as, of course, is de rigueur for all actors – but he never lost sight of who the real enemy was.
Which living person do you most despise, and why?Tony Blair – he’s done even more damage than Thatcher.
Rest in peace, Bob