Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death prompted Luke Davies to adapt Beautiful Boy

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose death and a touching email from his father prompted screenwriter Luke Davies to adapt father-and-son authors David and Nic Sheff’s books for the big screen.
The reformed heroin addict was reluctant to tackle Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines when his agent brought the books to him, but then two events made him realise he was the perfect person to tackle the story.
“I read the books and I recognised their power and their beauty and their authenticity, but I said, ‘I don’t want to take this job because I have a vision of my future and I don’t want to be pigeonholed as some kind of drug expert’.”
Davies first found success with his 1997 book Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction, which was adapted for the big screen in 2006.
“My agent asked me to take the meeting, which I went into knowing that I was going to say no, but four days before that meeting Phillip Seymour Hoffman died and the night before the meeting I got an email from my father who remembered 10 years earlier, when Candy premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and Philip Seymour Hoffman had been there with Capote – and we all had dinner one night in Berlin.
“It was my first film, so it was huge and my dad remembered that anecdote of going to dinner with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger (the star of Candy). My father wrote in the email, ‘I suppose you heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman died which is so sad’. He ended the email saying, ‘Sometimes I feel this family is so blessed’.
“I was 24 years sober at that time and I think it was my dad’s way of saying, ‘I completely get how rocky we are’. I cried when I got that email and I realised that I’d never ever dealt with a father son relationship in Candy. I thought maybe I’d write this movie about the father and son relationship which is at the heart of the film.”
Beautiful Boy, starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet as David and Nic Sheff, opens in America on 12 October (18).