Here's a couple lessons for all you rookie reporters assigned to cover the Hollywood beat: 1. Make sure your "SHOWBIZ PRESS" pass is always facing outward in the band of your fedora. 2. Place a decoy in that neaby row of telephone booths—that way you can call your scoop into the paper the second it happens. 3. Never, under any circumstance, ask Philip Seymour Hoffman for insights regarding the true nature of the possible child-molesting priest character he plays in Doubt.
As you'll soon learn from the junket audio above—in which a reporter gallingly demands of the actor, "How important was it to you to know what really happened?"—the results are not pretty. His response: "My whole issue with that question is that I think everyone's trying to get me to say what it is. And I think it's so selfish. Soo selfish. Of course I have to fill in the blank of that character—you know that, right? You know that? (Stunned silence.) Say 'yes.' (Nervous laughter.)"
Yes, that's it exactly. This greedy, self-absorbed reporter wanted to trip Hoffman up and have him reveal the truth about what happened between his character and the impressionable African-American schoolboy with whom he developed a suspiciously intimate bond. Had Hoffman fallen for the ruse, it would have instantly rendered the title Doubt utterly obsolete, and ruined the molesty surprise!
We think he's been spending a little too much time under a naked lightbulb in Sister Aloysius Beauvier's interrogation room. We get it. It's all very doubtful. We don't know if you did it. That's what drives the drama. But c'mon—try a poker face next time. Hoffman got so defensive, we're just going to assume he diddled John Patrick Shanley's screenplay in his trailer between takes.