Bob Hoskins hasn’t died, he’s retired from acting, which is like death because you’re never seen by anyone, but close family again. He’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which took away another star of a Robert Zemeckis film from us (Michael J. Fox). For me and most, he’ll always be synonymous with Eddie Valiant, the down on his luck toon detective from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
As a kid I remember the opening of Toon Town at Disneyland in 1993 and the line for Roger Rabbit extending past Smallworld. Of course, we waited, Fast Passes were years away, the idea of waiting in line without waiting in line was beyond comprehension during those years. I remember all the vivid detail in the line cue once you were inside, all from a movie I had never seen, since when did babies smoke cigars and talk dirty, I thought. I had to see it, and so I did. Confused as ever how a human being could star in a cartoon and how that human was never mentioned or shown during the ride. Who was this fat balding American man? The confusion continued as I spotted him in Hook delivering his lines in a british accent. Hollywood messed me up pretty badly, obviously.
I spent time with him in college when I refused to read any Shakespeare in a class that wouldn’t you know only assigned Shakespeare. I couldn’t bring myself to reading Othello or even No Fear Othello or Sparknotes again and instead watched an Instant Netflix television movie. Hoskins was Iago thickening the plot and embarrassing other actors on screen, even Anthony Hopkins, who will always be more readily remembered than Hoskins, even though I would claim Hoskins has a much wider range (does anyone actually like Anthony in anything other than Silence of the Lambs?) I had intended to use the movie as a refresher course, but ended up viewing the whole film from start to finish.
Hoskins was not a particularly good looking man, he was ugly, short, and overweight. Zemeckis could have gone with a skinny drunk for the role, but didn’t. Go back and watch the film if you get a chance and you’ll see why. There isn’t a moment, in which Hoskins’ acting reveals that none of the cartoon characters are there with him. Mind you this was the first full length live action film and yet no one has matched his commitment in the comedic genre. Take a look at the Smurfs movie or the Chipmunks, you never believe those minis are there and it’s not the animators fault. Hoskins might not have been the obvious choice, but he was the right choice. He was dedicated and was consistently good in movies that weren’t: the Cotton Club (Nic Cage was good too).
It’s a shame that Hoskins wasn’t included in the ride attraction, hopefully kids will still watch the movie to see the real star of the film.
The Hollywood Defender