After the death of her life partner, Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mimi O’Donnell took the necessary time off to mourn the loss of the star. She was taken over by grief and withdrew from her work as a notable artistic director. The death of Hoffman caused by an accidental drug overdose left her and her family devastated.
Mimi had yet to speak openly about the experience until recently, when she communicated with the New York Times and shed light on what it has been like for her over the past 15 months since Hoffman’s death.
The talented theater director admitted to wearing “her emotions on her sleeve while coping.” Wonderwall relays O’Donnell’s words to the New York Times.
“I was pretty stubborn in my falling apart. And my kids saw all of it, because they should. What, am I going to hide it from them? I don’t want them to hide it from me. And, even as the artistic director, there were times when I was like, ‘I can’t do this right now, and I’m not going to pretend I can.'”
O’Donnell also shared that since Hoffman’s death, her struggle to get back to re-establishing herself in her work and to feel “somewhat human again” all came about in part thanks to Cate Blanchett. As it turns out, Cate was performing with the Sydney Theater Company in a production of The Maids at City Center in the summer of 2014. O’Donnell describes what it was in that performance that produced the motivation to get back to who she was before Philip’s passing.
“That was the first play that I saw after Phil had died, and she did that thing you want every actress in theater to do: she left her heart on the stage. And I knew enough in that moment to go: ‘I love theater. I love it. I love what it can do.’ And, not making a concrete decision, but knowing that I wasn’t going to leave the theater company, I wasn’t going to stop doing this. I go in feeling whatever I’m feeling about grief, and all of a sudden there’s something onstage that’s happening—it cracks something open. When they really, truly open up in front of you emotionally, there’s something about it.”
In regards to how she is doing now that over a year has passed since Hoffman’s death, Mimi finds it difficult to gauge. Finding yourself again after such a big part of your life has been taken away is never an easy feat. When the question about how she is doing was asked by the New York Times, Mimi was direct and honest.
“It is a ridiculous question — I don’t know. There are so many people who have written beautiful books about grief, who have been able to say it much better than I, but I guess I would say that, after a year has passed, I’m able to function, if that’s the right word, or be in the world a little bit differently.”
[Feature image via New York Daily]