IN the autumn of 2004, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shot his Academy Award-winning performance in Capote in Winnipeg.

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IN the autumn of 2004, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shot his Academy Award-winning performance in Capote in Winnipeg.

For that reason, a few Winnipeggers were shocked and saddened by news of the actor's death during the weekend.

"He was a good guy," said Kenny Boyce, the City of Winnipeg's cultural liaison, who recalled visiting Hoffman at the Fort Garry Hotel and finding him in costume and in character as author Truman Capote.

"He was a kind and gentle man who could make you feel like you were the most important person in the room," Boyce said.

"I have no words," producer Kyle Irving posted on his Facebook wall Sunday.

"Bye, Phil. Thank you for what you gave me and Manitoba." Irving's post included a photograph of Hoffman as Capote inscribed to him. Irving is a partner and producer at Eagle Vision Inc., the Winnipeg production partner on the film.

For his part, Hoffman said he enjoyed his time in Winnipeg and southern Manitoba during the making of Capote.

"Winnipeg actually was fantastic," Hoffman told the Free Press in September 2005 in Toronto when the film premièred at the Toronto International Film Festival, adding he arrived with some apprehension on doing the movie here.

"It was very, very cold, it was isolated, and I had never been there before," he said. "I was just in a state of terror going up to do this film and (worrying) if I was going to be able to succeed or not."

Hoffman said his arrival in Winnipeg paralleled the dynamic of Capote's storyline in which the author visited rural Kansas to research what would be his masterpiece, In Cold Blood.

"There was a similarity in that aspect of just starting to live in the town and getting to know the town and the people in it, like Capote," he said.

"I slowly became very friendly with the people in the town on my days off," said Hoffman, who rented a house on Queenston Street in River Heights during his stay here.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca