Philip Seymour Hoffman Was Almost Pig Vomit in Howard Stern’s ‘Private Parts’
When Paul Giamatti was approached to play WNBC program director Pig Vomit in Howard Stern’s Private Parts movie, his reps were skeptical. “Some of my agents were like, ‘Really, you want to do this?’” Giamatti recently told Howard Stern. “I was like, ‘Yes I want to do it! First of all, it's a really good script. Who the hell am I? Who the hell cares? And I'm going to have fun doing it.”
Stern’s representative had a different take after watching the unknown 30-year-old’s performance in the movie. “My agent turned to me and said, “(Giamatti is) going to be a huge star,” Stern revealed. “He says out of everybody in that whole f---ing crew, it's going to be Paul Giamatti.”
Except there’s an alternate Sternverse in which Pig Vomit wasn’t Giamatti at all. According to Stern, there was “one other guy up for that role”: the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. “He would have been great,” Giamatti admitted. “He would have been amazing.” (Other sliding-door moments: Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the original Alison but backed out due to family commitments. Another consideration — Jeff Goldblum playing Howard himself.)
Stern has no regrets about Giamatti getting the role. “Paul nailed this guy,” he said. “He was a real life guy and Paul nailed him. It was weird — when I did the scenes, I felt like I was working with the real Pig Virus.”
Pig Virus? Yep, that was Stern’s real-life nickname for the program manager, but producers had concerns about getting sued so Pig Vomit it was. “It bothered me that you were Pig Vomit,” Stern admitted to Giamatti. “It was Pig Virus!” Some poor kid at Stern’s youth summer camp originally got stuck with the Pig Virus nickname, and older Stern appropriated it for his work enemy. You’d think either version of the name would be grounds for a lawsuit.
Stern lamented that he didn’t relish his Private Parts experience when he was in the moment, but while Giamatti would love to relive the movie-making, he did appreciate it in real time. “I did feel a lot,” he told Stern. “I remember every second of making that movie, more so than other things. I think I did savor that one because the whole thing was great.”