Dear Mr. Hoskins,
It’s been four years since you left us. I can still remember hearing your name on the radio that morning in 2014 and knowing, with a sickening feeling in my gut, that you were gone. I can remember so clearly, sitting before my laptop, listening to the soft strains of “Valiant and Valiant”, trying to pull my thoughts together so that I could, in some small way, tell the world that I already missed you. It wasn’t easy and there are a hundred thousand ways that I could rewrite that post, but I did the best I could.
Now, here it is, four years after the fact, and the thirtieth anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and I still miss you. But it seems even worse this year.
You should still be here with us. You should still be telling the stories of what happened on the set, of how some dismissed the special effects of the movie because of Charles Fleischer’s insistence upon wearing a rabbit costume. Or how you inadvertently ended up doing some of your own stunts. Or even how difficult it was to master an American accent. You should be here, telling those stories, giving interviews on various morning television shows with other members of the cast, walking the red carpet at the Chinese Theatre for the premier night of a limited run of the film.
You should still be here. It doesn’t seem fair that you aren’t. I take that back; it isn’t fair.
When Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in 1988, I was on the cusp of my teens. I was leaving childhood and entering adolescence.I was leaving that part of my life where I simply accepted the fact that my mother was authoritarian and entering one where I questioned as to why. That film was a refuge, a way to escape my life and slip into a world that made sense, a world where nightmares could be defeated. When I looked at Eddie Valiant, I saw someone who was trying to drown his pain the only way he knew. I saw someone who hadn’t quite faced what he had lost but was still haunted by what could have been. I saw someone who was under immense strain, but who hadn’t broken.
In a way, I saw a bit of myself. That is something I will always carry with me. Though I didn’t know it back then.
These words, on this blog, you will never read. But still, I feel the need to say them. I miss you, Mr. Hoskins and I thank you for all that you’ve done. My childhood, as well as my teenage years, were much richer thanks to you.