Mark Pellegrino: In the Mind of Philip Seymour Hoffman (recap)

In the second part of this wonderful podcast, Mark spent a lot of time talking about the horde. While the little cockroaches don’t deserve the airtime, it’s great to hear what Mark thinks and feels — and, as usual, he’s hilarious and on point with his putdowns. I might have to compile a top ten list of insults. Or maybe a top 100.

Mark started by giving some advice on how to approach people who’ve been on TV. The short answer is just don’t go up to them if you’re not sure what they’ve been in. Asking an actor to go through their resume to appease your curiosity is a crappy thing to do — Mark said it might embarrass them, or make them feel silly or egotistical. From what I’ve observed, some people need to remember that being in the public eye is not the same as being public property.

The discussion switched to fans, and whether they have the right to talk and write about celebrities.

Mark doesn’t have a problem with fans writing and talking about him. But, he does take issue with the group of fans that aren’t interested in the truth, the ones who write and share lies and refuse to acknowledge the truth, repeating lies that were thoroughly debunked many years ago. 

Mark’s message to them would be ‘shut the fuck up and stop lying,’ but they wouldn’t listen because they’re dead from the neck up and have an agenda: to acquire followers.

When Mark has responded in the past, it’s because his reputation is everything and he wants to defend it. This group of fans don’t care about his reputation, and they like the [negative] attention — if he engages with them, he gives them social currency, which helps them to become viral, reaching other subnormals and empty psychopaths, resulting in a pile-on. Mark described it as becoming a sociopath magnet. If he engages, the kids think they’re becoming stars because they get more followers and Mark loses a couple of hundred followers because of the bullshit the kids are saying. As a result, Mark now thinks it’s better to keep silent when it happens. That doesn’t mean the fans are free to say what they like about him; Mark has a growing group of social media guardians who will continue to defend his reputation, confront the horde with the truth and make sure the truth is easier to find than the lies. (Case in point: this site is optimised to attract people who use search engines to check if the lies about Mark are true or false).

There have been two waves of attacks on Mark: the first a few years ago when Mark defended Travis, who was being lynched on social media, and the second earlier this year.

Mark described the leaders of the first wave as a small number of smart sociopaths. These fans even set up a petition, trying to get him fired from everything, just for saying they should follow due process if they have a criminal complaint rather than try a person on social media. He was attacked for standing up for civilisation.

In civilisation, we don’t hurt each other. We defer using force to this rational process called due process. That way we don’t beat each other up. We have judges, and lawyers, and law, and a jury, and a process to discern whether one person is lying or one person is telling the truth.

Mark said the second wave was a bunch of sociopathic teenagers who’ve had their consciences distilled out of them by the school system — and they’re brain dead, so they have no idea what right and wrong really is. He doesn’t care what they think because they’re morons.

They’re brain dead, moralising, self-righteous, sociopathic people who want to be famous and your engagement with them makes them feel famous.

Until a couple of months ago, Mark believed reason could touch anyone because it’s supported by reality, so it was worth fighting for his reputation and against the lies, which are not supported by reality.

Mark eventually realised that wasn’t the case, and instead of responding to lies now, he’ll hope that when these kids grow up, they finally understand that they tried to destroy a man’s reputation. And when they feel the guilt and apologise, he’s going to say Fuck You. Well said, sir.

And then when you come up to me to apologise for what you’ve done, I’m going to say Fuck You. Now take back every bit of damage you did in the meantime. Now go to every single person you contaminated, to their door, and personally apologise for what you’ve done. Until then, Fuck You.

Eh. Some people who believe the lies are just gullible or stupid. They don’t necessarily deserve zombies at their door, but I fully support the sentiment!

As we’re living in a society that chooses not to be rational, Mark feels liberated rather than surprised or shaken. He said he felt obligated to stand up for himself, to help when he sees someone else being the target — and maybe administer a little spanking to the bullies himself — but he’s realised they aren’t worth it and refuses to give them that kind of power in the future.

You steal my time. You steal my health. You steal my joy. And you steal my faith in humanity.

Mark related a story about one of the worst he’s encountered recently, someone who told Mark she’d received death threats from one of his fans. Mark said his fans wouldn’t do that — he’d block anyone he caught doing that — but apologised if it was true and reached out, offering to have her as a guest if he was at a con in her city. It was all lies. She also claimed to have had confrontations with Mark at the con in Las Vegas — that didn’t happen either. Mark even had people looking for her. He shouldn’t have to deal with liars like that.

The conversation turned to motives, such as defrauding their followers out of money saying they’re for legal costs while actually using the money to go to more cons, and the problem of people with power not taking a stand.

Mark reiterated that the problem isn’t calling names, it’s people starting petitions to get him fired, sharing false information with his employers, and trying to kill his career. People make a lot of assumptions about actors — they’re all super-rich, they all know each other, and it’s not a big deal if they lose a few jobs — but there isn’t a lot of job security for most of them.

And they think because you’re an actor, they think every actor must live in Beverly Hills, we all fucking know each other, we’re all incredibly rich, and we have really nothing to worry about, so what the fuck is a few conventions and a few television jobs, you’ll get something else in the future. Really? Fuck off. This may be the last job I have in five years. Thank you for making me lose it, prick.

Mark said a social media influencer jumped in and asked him what a grown-ass man is doing fighting kids. Mark pointed out a kid can still kill you with a hammer, referencing the Salem Witch Trials and Lord of the Files, or kill your reputation. The kids know how to play the medium. They pile on, then lock their accounts and hide in their bubble when things turn against them, saying they’re having anxiety attacks or going to the hospital. After a few days, they unlock and come after him again.

It takes a toll on you when you give them your time. They’re emotional vampires. They feed off of stealing your life force and that’s why I’m not going to engage with them any more.

Mark said this type of behaviour is sad and pathetic — and some of the people involved are talented and creative, but went down a sociopathic route instead of using their potential.

The conversation moved away from the braindead horde and onto Mark’s career. Mark was asked if he takes the time to think about the legendary movies he’s been in — he doesn’t, but says he’d maybe feel better about himself if he did. Mark talked about working with and learning from amazing actors, who have always been generous human beings as well as talented actors. He singled out Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of his favourite people, and someone who shares a lot of his principles. Mark recalled Tracy reading an article about Philip Seymour Hoffman and telling Mark it sounded like him. One thing he learned is giving himself permission to be. Mark watched Philip Seymour Hoffman say he wasn’t going to cry in the death chamber scene in Capote even though the director wanted him to; then he did cry. Mark called that ‘zen and the art of archery’ — the harder you try to hit the target, the further away you get.

Mark saw an excellent actor with his head on ‘hitting the target’ at a Broadway play he was familiar with; watching made him feel tense. So if a script says ‘cry here,’ Mark instead focusses on doing the thing that might make them cry — or it might not, but it’ll be authentic, and the audience will feel that emotion with you because he’s trying to do the thing rather than force a specific outcome. Mark recalled something Marlon Brando said about the audience doing all the work, already suspending disbelief and willing to let the story take them wherever it goes, leaving it to the actor to let the story take them where it takes them.

Mark talked about writers and directors. David Mamet is the only director he worked with who gave him actable direction — he told Mark to try to escape, which is not necessarily what he would have thought his activity was. Ethan Cohen gave Mark a line reading — something actors don’t usually like — but it was helpful.

In part three, Mark will explain what happened when he asked a philosopher (instead of a psychologist) for help with feeling constantly dissatisfied, and what that has to do with a statue of Mercury.