Last night was an emotional one for Chaz Ebert, the widow of the late, great film critic Roger Ebert.
In New York City attending an early private screening of Hoop Dreams director Steve James' powerful new documentary about her late husband, Life Itself, Chaz took part in a Q&A after the screening, moderated by New York Times critic A.O. Scott and also including James and indie filmmaker, and Ebert's good friend, Ramin Behrani (Chop Shop). Before answering one of Scott's questions about Life Itself, Chaz addressed the sadness she experienced the day before, when news of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death surfaced. She briefly discussed the mutual and deep fondness both she and Roger felt for Hoffman as both an actor and a human being, and then she talked about something her husband used to always mention about PSH.
"Roger always said, 'If you ever need someone to play me in a movie, I want it to be Philip Seymour Hoffman,'" said Chaz. She then went elaborated, saying that earlier this month, when both she and Hoffman were attending the Sundance Film Festival, she was almost able to let Hoffman know about that. "I didn't see Phil at Sundance," said Chaz, "but I was talking to someone, saying, 'You know he's here. I heard Roger would like [Hoffman] to play him in a movie, what do you think about that?'"
And now, sadly, we'll never get to see if that would have ever happened. Imagine if it did, though—it would have been a brilliant casting choice.