'A Most Wanted Man' Director on Philip Seymour Hoffman, 'Normality' of Espionage

Robin Wright, director Anton Corbijn, Rachel McAdams
Robin Wright, director Anton Corbijn, Rachel McAdams
 Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

New York City's Museum of Modern Art was the setting of celebration on Tuesday night — and while art patrons feted the opening of a new exhibit with cocktails in the courtyard, film fans headed one flight downstairs for the premiere screening of A Most Wanted Man, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last major role.

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"The quality of the performance keeps surprising you — you know he's good, but you never realize he's that good," director Anton Corbijn told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet, set just in front of Sol LeWitt's colorful wall drawings, at the premiere presented by The Cinema Society and Montblanc. "You see it happen in front of your eyes."

Corbijn explained that having author John le Carre's sons Simon and Stephen Cornwell on board as producers was a strong asset. "They're there to protect, in a way, their father's legacy," he said. "And John le Carre was himself open to any questions. We could call him anytime, and he visited a few times. He had conversations with Philip to talk about, basically, the normality of the spying business — it's not so much Jason Bourne [of the Bourne series] as a normal part of life. ... The way government goes about things — the NSA revelations, the whole spying thing with Germany, the drone situation — there's a lot of dark stuff happening. I think the way we measure our response to problems needs to be looked at sometimes."

Before the screening, the espionage thriller's stars — Robin Wright, dressed in a beige tank and black pinstriped slacks, and Rachel McAdams, wearing a mixed-pattern Zuhair Murad dress — greeted each other with a long hug in front of photographers. Inside one of the Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, Julianna Margulies and husband Keith Lieberthal sat in the same middle row as Ellen BurstynPaul Haggis, Grace Coddington, Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, Isiah Whitlock Jr.Lena Hall, Dane DeHaan, Calvin KleinFern Mallis and Rachel Roy, among others, quickly scooted past reporters to head downstairs.

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"We're very proud to be involved with this film for many reasons — it's great to be releasing a film that's this smart and interesting and provocative in this day and age," said Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen, also on behalf of Lionsgate, while introducing the film. "About the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, I just want to say what [Rolling Stone'sPeter Travers said earlier. ... 'Philip Seymour Hoffman is magnificent.'"

After the screening, guests headed south to Midtown's recently opened rooftop bar, The Skylark, for Grey Goose cocktails, a special Montblanc ink bar and sweeping views of Manhattan — plus Mick Jagger.

A Most Wanted Man hits theaters July 25.

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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