Tribute: Bob Hoskins
We have just received word that actor Bob Hoskins has passed away. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011 he stepped away from acting roles, with Snow White and the Hunstman being his final performance. Hoskins died last night as a result of pneumonia.
According to Wikipedia Bob Hoskins is known for gangster and cockney roles, but to my generation that’s not what he’ll be remembered for. As a young viewer I got to know him as Smee in Hook and Mario in Mario Bros (although he suited the role we try to forget that one). Later, as a film student, he resurfaced in cult films Brazil and Pink Floyd The Wall. He stayed on the radar with solid work in Hollywoodland, Mrs. Henderson Presents and Enemy at the Gates. As per tradition we are going to remember the role we remember most fondly. And if you’re a regular reader, I’m sure you can guess where we’re going with this…
The role of P.I. Eddie Valiant in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There are two reasons why this is a fantastic performance in a fantastic film that everyone should watch regularly. Firstly, he had to carry almost every scene by himself. Sure, the elastic Roger, gravity-defying Jessica and the famous faces of Disney and Looney Tunes filled up the frame, but you have to remember that they were added in post. At the time Hoskin’s wouldn’t even have a playback monitor to work with. In most scenes he was on set along pretending he’s surrounded my the rest of the cast, giving the animators a performance to work off.
Then there’s the performance itself. In a mad, mad world Eddie Valiant is the ultimate straight man. Sometimes he had to act with mechanical gadgets under his jacket to simulate Roger Rabbit fighting to get out. Other times he had the salacious Jessica pulling on his tie. In every scenario his delivery is completely dry and perfectly hits the mark. Whether it was skydiving with Mickey and Bugs or facing down the demonic Judge Doom he was the perfect straight man to a world of comedies.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a brilliant movie. Take the time to enjoy it again this week. As far as I’m concerned this is the role Hoskins should be remembered for.
Rest in Peace Bob Hoskins.