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Mr. Beaks Interviews Dustin Hoffman!

The frustrating thing about interviewing a living legend like Dustin Hoffman is that you know all the angles have been covered. And if there are stories yet untold, it's unlikely you're going to tease them out within fifteen minutes of making the man's acquaintance. "Why no one ever brings up TOOTSIE, Jeremy! I'm so impressed! Let me tell you about the time I exploded a jar of nickels over Larry Gelbart's head!" So I wasn't swinging for the fences when I walked in to Mr. Hoffman's temporary quarters at the Four Seasons to discuss his latest work, LAST CHANCE HARVEY. I was just looking for a lively conversation, an amusing anecdote or two, and, if the mood was right, the opportunity to tell him how much I honestly, unabashedly love ISHTAR. Turns out the mood was very right. More on that in a bit. For now, let's concentrate on Joel Hopkins's LAST CHANCE HARVEY, a romantic dramedy which stars Hoffman as a man who risks losing his job as a jingles writer by flying off to London to attend his daughter's wedding. This seems like a tremendously honorable gesture until Harvey arrives for the rehearsal dinner, and we slowly realize that he hasn't been much of a father up until this moment. He hasn't been a monster exactly, but the consensus seems to be that an overcommitment to work broke up his marriage. So the fact that he's sacrificing his job by showing up for the wedding isn't about to impress anyone. The fact that he's planning to skip out on the reception to race back to New York? That's just like Harvey. As Harvey attempts to atone for a lifetime of disappointment, he's subjected to a stream of indignities which leads him to a chance encounter with Kate (Emma Thompson), a single woman desperate for companionship. Though brusque with her at first, Harvey gradually gets Kate to warm to him, and an unlikely friendship begins to develop between these two misfits. This is, ultimately, the movie: Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson walking and talking throughout London. Hopkins's picture isn't a marvel of design or incident, but it doesn't have to be; he just keeps the cameras rolling and lets two of our greatest living actors bat the ball back and forth. There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours. Though bereft of the histrionics that please the Academy so, Hoffman's performance in LAST CHANCE HARVEY is one of his most emotionally complex turns in years. There are no character tics to hide behind, no makeup to conceal the worries and disappointments of a seventy-one-year-old man. It's a fearless thing. So it was hardly surprising to find Hoffman in a reflective mood when we began our interview. Reflective enough to talk ISHTAR? Read on.

Mr. Beaks: What really struck me early about Harvey is that we're catching him after his "asshole" period. He's very much a reformed asshole. So we're rooting for him even though everyone else in the movie is viewing him through this filter of what he used to be. How do you play something like that?

Dustin Hoffman: You go from your own asshole. (Laughs)

Beaks: Really?

Hoffman: Yes! We're all assholes! I mean, I have yet to meet someone who's never been called an asshole at a certain point in their life. You expand on the parts of yourself that have been disconnected - because it's usually when you're disconnected that people think you're an asshole. There's no contact with yourself, and, therefore, there's none with other people. [Harvey] was not there for himself, so he certainly wouldn't be there for his ex-wife or his kid. He's a man who didn't have the courage to stay with that which he loved the most, and doesn't have the courage to leave something that he finds so demeaning, which is writing jingles. And the profession is no longer known as jingle writing. I did not know that until I did a little research on it. There used to be a time when you could sing commercials. You used to sing them. But there isn't any now. They don't exist.

Beaks: That's interesting because there's this looming irrelevance that he's having to deal with later in life, as I guess many people do. But this is combined with the fact that there is no one else in his life. He's alone. So there's this kind of quiet panic, and it's mostly conveyed through your eyes. Otherwise, even though he's absorbing a torrent of humiliation, he maintains a very placid exterior. Did you find yourself building from the interior out?

Hoffman: Always. But, you know, you're the audience. And in an interview, Jean Renoir, the son of the painter who was a terrific filmmaker, once said that when you get out to direct - and I think this applies to acting and writing as well - you never have enough time before you have to start shooting. There's always a deadline. So by the time you have to write up your piece, or start a movie, you usually don't know as much as you'd like to know. You always wish you'd had more time. So Renoir said the best thing is to just get out there and just put out what you know, even if you think there's a chunk missing. Because by being true to what you do know, the audience is inevitably your collaborator. They are co-writing it. And they will then fill in what you didn't know; they will know what you don't know. That's kind of a long way to say I didn't think of him in the terms you're describing. But it makes sense what you're saying. To me, he was just me if certain things had happened in my life. In that sense, that's the interior: the interior life is that I had a divorce, and it was awful - especially in terms of the impact that it had on the children. So that's real. I did want to be a jazz pianist, and still do a few woe-is-me's a day because it really was, and is still, my chosen art form. I wish I did do it. I keep saying I'm going to stop acting and study jazz piano. And if I had not met the person I've been with for about thirty-five years, the best that could've come out of me is that I would've wound up stuck like this character. He's not totally un-redeemable. He's just stuck. And he meets someone else who's stuck. People don't always know they're stuck. And if they do know it, it's an intellectual awareness and not a visceral one. And until it's visceral, they're not going to change anything. Until they wake up sweating and say, "What the fuck am I doing with my life?" So I was never thinking of a winner or a loser or a good guy or a bad guy or an asshole; I was just drawing from parts of myself. And I do think I work better when I don't decide the character, and the audience ultimately does. You really look in wonder when people say, as you're saying, "We catch him after he's finished being an asshole." Because I'm thinking, "I never thought of him that way!" And yet what you're saying makes complete sense. But no one else has said it. Other people have said he's a loser, but I didn't think of him as a loser either. If I came to any definition, it was that he was stuck and avoiding life. And if he hadn't met [Kate], I do really believe he'd be the same person he was when we met him. When she says, "You've got to go to the wedding," that becomes the deciding factor in his entire life. And if she had left at the wedding and I never saw her again, it would have been worth it for her to come into my life. She tilted the axis of my life. That was true for me and my wife. If I hadn't met her, at best I'd be dead. (Laughs) Certainly spiritually. I was not in a good place. I was in a Harvey place.

Beaks: But you had the armor of success.

Hoffman: The trappings.

Beaks: Whereas Harvey never amounted to much, and is now flailing professionally. He must be seeing his career in terms of "I don't fit in here anymore, it's not going to get any better, I'm not going to get any more relevant as time goes on..."

Hoffman: But still feeling that he's right and they're wrong. Because you do get an inner life going when you study something - with what little time you do have before you start a film. When I went to these jingle houses and met some of these guys, I did get a feeling of my placement, of where I would be if I was one of these guys and what I would feel emotionally. And it's not that different from what I feel as an actor; I always feel you kind of try to tie in the fictional reality with the real reality. (Pauses) I'm not sure that acting is the same as it was. Meaning I don't know where those acting icons are, those acting teacher icons of my early studying days: the Strasbergs, the Meisners, Bobby Lewis, Stella Adler... those giants! I don't know who they've been replaced by. Many times, I feel they've been replaced by "in the school of" or "in the likeness of". But none of these giants. And I don't know who the playwrights are. I don't know what playwrights have replaced Tennessee Williams and Inge and Miller and Albee. I did come from this generation, and I didn't realize how blessed we were. I don't know where those armies of directors are, the Truffauts, the Fellinis, the Bergmans, the Antonionis. So you don't know whether you're just getting old, where you're saying like every other person "It ain't what it used to be". I mean, there is talent. But certainly I know what doesn't exist now in the culture which did exist then - and it's not just my profession, it's everything. It's that the money did not dominate. It was not the definition as it is now. To do good work: that was the emphasis. We didn't have the top five movies and what they grossed. The public didn't know, or, when they did, they didn't care. The studios weren't trying to make home runs every time because they didn't have to. They were willing to get their money back or maybe make a few dollars, but they mostly just wanted to make that movie. People have said [LAST CHANCE HARVEY] reminds them of that kind of movie. They call it "old-fashioned". That's a bizarre term for me to hear. What's "old fashioned"?

Beaks: Well, this is the kind of thing we'd expect to see on HBO or another cable network. They don't try to put these films in theaters anymore because they're too small; they figure the audience would just as soon wait to watch it at home. I think that discounts the boomers, who represent a huge chunk of potential moviegoers, and who grew up going to films as a kind of ritual. That's an audience that is not being respected.

Hoffman: Someone told me that only ten percent go.

Beaks: Ten percent of the public?

Hofffman: Yeah.

Beaks: Even then, I'd wager that boomers represent a sizable portion of that ten percent. I don't know if it's a bigger portion than teens-to-twentysomethings.

Hoffman: Over-forty may outnumber them. I've heard that. But I've always felt that it doesn't matter. I've always had little patience for people who say, "There's nothing to see! There's nothing to read!" I say, "Fine! Do you know how many great films have been made in the last hundred years? Go get them! There are so many masterpieces, you won't be able to watch all of them!" And there are so many good books. Listen, we could stop art right now, and you wouldn't be able to read enough or see enough of the great stuff.

Beaks: There's a lot of work of yours they could catch up on. STRAIGHT TIME just came out on DVD a year ago. That's a rich, fascinating movie.

Hoffman: I like that movie. It's a true movie. It's as close to the reality of criminals that I'm aware of. Ex-convicts have said that that movie really gets it. I don't think of an audience reaction when I'm making a film. People say, "You know when you stand up in the wedding scene [in LAST CHANCE HARVEY], I cringed." I swear I wasn't thinking that when I did it or when we were working on the speech. You don't think of the audience reaction. But having said that, I always have an audience that I'm pointing to when I'm making the film. Not the reaction, but I'm thinking [of STRAIGHT TIME], "I want convicts, I want ex-convicts to see this movie. I want them to say, 'That's it!'". Or I'm thinking, "I want parents of autistic children to say, 'That's the closest I've seen.'" I want people who've gone through the horror of divorce to say [KRAMER VS. KRAMER] is close to some of the feelings that exist in a real divorce. With [LAST CHANCE HARVEY[, the awareness I think I was pointing to was that we are imprisoned. And we spend a lifetime trying to get free because we do arm ourselves with defenses to ward off the pain of that which has been inflicted on us since the day we were born. Unfortunately, it helps us to survive, but it doesn't stop us from repeating and setting up again the same flawed structures that we had growing up. We set them up and we repeat them not knowing it. And the reason we do it is because we know that we can survive disappointment. We can survive rejection. We can survive a lack of love. We can survive not being appreciated. That's what [Emma] says at the end, "I was hoping you wouldn't show up." She knows how to cope with that. Hopefully, for all of us, we do wake up one day and say, "I deserve a life. And that part of me which has been disabling myself, I will now take responsibility for. Perhaps I can survive happiness." That's a dilemma. That's what we want life to be. Somehow, we're conned into that, and it's anything but.

Beaks: Before I get out of here, I want to tell you that there is a small but dedicated cult building up around a film of yours that I love unapologetically. It's ISHTAR. (Hoffman laughs.} I know Quentin Tarantino is a fan. And, recently, the filmmaker Edgar Wright screened it at The New Beverly--

Hoffman: I wish I'd been invited!

Beaks: Paul Williams was there earlier in the evening.

Hoffman: I would've come in a minute!

Beaks: Really?

Hoffman: I love the movie.

Beaks: I do, too. You and Warren are great together. The songs are wonderfully awful. Charles Grodin is a slow-burning genius.

Hoffman: He's brilliant. Brilliant. Um... (Smiling) that's a whole other subject. Jimmy Breslin was a friend of mine in those days, and... we made that movie and went through all kinds of horrible press for all different reasons during the making of it. So by the time it came out, it had been buried. We premiered it in Toronto, Canada, and, at that point, they were oblivious of the press about the making of it. And we got a standing ovation at the end of the movie. We then come back to this country, and we are destroyed. So I said to Jimmy Breslin later, "Okay, this isn't a great movie, but my god it didn't deserve the thrashing!" And I'll never forget what he said in that New York accent of his. He said (Doing Breslin), "Dustin, when the press has a contract out, they have a contract out." And they honored that contract. But the hit was out for different reasons. But it's funny you bring up that movie, because that movie has something to do with this movie believe it or not. The thing I love about [ISHTAR] - and I love it with all of its flaws - is that it has a statement to make. And that is: It is far, far better to spend a life being second rate in something that you're passionate about, then to spend a life being first-rate at that which you are not passionate about. I thought that was worth making a movie about. These guys want to be Simon & Garfunkle, but they have no talent at all. They're middle-aged guys, and at the end of the movie they wind up singing "That's Amore" at a Holiday Inn in Morocco. It's fair. It's fair to make a movie about that.

Beaks: Well, if we ever do another screening.

Hoffman: Let's make a screening. The first half-hour is flawless.

With the publicist justifiably staring stilettos at me for getting Mr. Hoffman off on a tangent five minutes past the scheduled end of my interview, I turned off my recorder as a gesture of contrition. Big mistake. Hoffman proceeded to tell us about how musicians like Paul Simon and Sting love ISHTAR because it gets nails that struggling, open-mic subculture. We then ran through some of our favorite songs from the movie (Hoffman's faves: "Love in My Will" and "That a Lawnmower Can Do All That"), and even sang a few bars. I didn't want it to end, but I also didn't want his publicist to end me. But we will make a screening. Soon. And there may be another wrongly maligned movie pulling double-header duty with it. Stay tuned. LAST CHANCE HARVEY opens in limited release on Christmas Day. It will go nationwide on January 9th. Faithfully submitted, Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST


    by ufoclub1977

    Now I wanna see "Ishtar"....

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Though the phrase "romantic dramedy" is woeful

    by palimpsest

    this was a good report, Mr Beaks, and kudos to you for the minor geek-out from Hoffman. Hopefully he'll remember you and get you an hour or so next time out. He's made some great movies (THE GRADUATE, LITTLE BIG MAN, MARATHON MAN for starters), a few stinkers, the occasional crowd-pleaser for the money (OUTBREAK is a guilty pleasure of mine), and has has been both sensitive and affecting (TOOTSIE and ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN work) and has show-boated (CONFIDENCE and RAIN MAN spring to mind immediately), and been in some under-appreciated gems (hell, I like SPHERE). All in all, he's had a Hollywood career that, though never quite getting the kudos of a Pacino or De Niro, has got him much respect. More, please!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    This is

    by Flyingcircus

    the perfect opportunity for a reboot of the franchise.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Great interview!

    by Tin Snoman

    Dustin Hoffman is awesome.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:46 p.m. CST

    I want a sequel to LITTLE BIG MAN


    starting with Hoffman at the age he is now. But that's cuz I'm retarded.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Class act throughout.

    by AgentArchangel

    That's Dustin Hoffman in a nutshell. Great interview, Mr. Beaks. Glad to hear his publicist didn't know the Wuxi Finger Grip.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:52 p.m. CST


    by Nordling

    I've always heard and read that Hoffman can be a bit of a cold fish in interviews, but that's so obviously wrong based on reading this. Either that, or you brought out something special here. <P> Interviews from the filmgeek perspective are so few and far between, especially with those actors and filmmakers that truly inspired us through the years. Terrific interview, Mr. Beaks!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:53 p.m. CST

    What a great fucking interview

    by Smilin'Jack Ruby

    I really liked what he did in "Last Chance Harvey" - exactly as you say, a really naked, emotionally complex role. Nice to see him talk about in the same way. Sucks about the recorder being off!!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Getting Hoffman to talk about Ishtar is classic

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Don't forget his other WB collaboration as Mumbles in Dick Tracy. Hoffman being interogated is the best scene in that film. One question I'd like to hear him answer some day is what exactly was Michael Mann's writing involvement on Straight Time. He's always credited as a ghost writer, but I wonder how much of what he wrote made it on the screen. You can tell from the dialogue that a lot of it sounds like dialogue written by Mann for films like Thief and Heat.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST

    I want Hoffman as The Penguin...

    by LordPorkington

    In the next Batman movie by Nolan.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Hoffman being a cold fish in interviews

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Probably due to getting the same stupid questions. At least Beaks thought outside the box somewhat. He's probably sick of being asked about the Graduate and Tootsie. I'm going to posit right now that Hoffman was the best actor of his generation in the 70's. Pacino, De Niro, and Nicholson still get most of the praise, but I think Hoffman's run in the 70's was superior to thier output.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Bring me the head of peter pan!

    by knowthyself

    Couldn't help but think of the interview Tom Tucket did with Hoffman on Family Guy.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Dustin Hoffman in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:28 p.m. CST

    excellent interview with the Hoff (no not that Hoff)

    by sherlock_junior

    Dustin Rules and this interview is really fresh and exciting! Keep it up!!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:58 p.m. CST

    I'd go to that screening!

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    Sounds awesome. Good interview, wish we could've heard the post-recording stuff

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST


    by Jaws Wayne

    Great interview man, kudos, hope to read many more in the future.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Hoffman may be the most diverse actor of all time

    by the beef

    I'm glad he's passionate enough about acting for us to see him be first-rate at it.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Hoffman was hot shit in the 70's...

    by Cameron1

    but Gene Hackman is the greatest actor of that generation. That's a stone cold fact.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 4:09 p.m. CST


    by Harold-Sherbort my favorite actor of all time. His Ratso Rizzo is fucking flawless. Hell, they made a muppet based on the character!!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Hoffman is the One True Hoff

    by Fievel

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Uh oh fart....

    by Darth Macchio

    Hoffman is a genius. I had heard that Magorium's Wonder Emporium was drool but on the contrary, it's a mad lot of fun and a very touching movie that speaks right to the inner-child hopefully still breathing within us. I love the little things and for a movie I wrote off as a Willy Wonka clone, it's not remotely the same (unless you consider a movie with kids in it the same). Best little thing are the name tags "Not Steve", "Robot" for the robot, etc.<p>Truly a class act and brilliant talent!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 5:01 p.m. CST

    A wrongly maligned movie like...

    by Archive

    Hudson Hawk?!? Dustion Hoffman and Bruce Willis, and lits and lots of singing? You know you want it!!!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 5:05 p.m. CST


    by Archive

    Dustin Hoffman may not have the intensity of Pacino or Deniro, but he's got way more range, and a resonating sense of honesty. He was the best part of Wag the Dog, as well!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Dustin is a gent

    by m_reporter

    Im gonna hunt down ISHTAR now. This interview got me more curious about that than Last Chance Harvey.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 5:53 p.m. CST

    by MCVamp

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 5:54 p.m. CST


    by MCVamp

    Anyway, meant to say that the original cinematic Hoffman is always a pleasure to watch onscreen. "Big Boy did it. Big Boy did it."

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Hoffman is a notoriously prickly bugger.

    by MaxTheSilent

    It took real balls to go in with the ISHTAR talk.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 7:17 p.m. CST

    The Messenger

    by enderandrew

    I think his role in The Messenger is brilliant. I love how it is never unexplained and the audience is allowed to come to their own conclusions. I think he did a wonderful job allowing that role to go both ways.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 7:18 p.m. CST

    a "wrongly maligned movie" like....

    by The Amazing G

    INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL!!!!???? yeah that's right, I went there!

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Paul Blart: Mall Cop

    by The Amazing G

    I looked that up on imdb and it looks like it MIGHT be funny.....if it came from a better director and was R-rated

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 7:55 p.m. CST


    by buffywrestling

    That was pretty cool. I thought Cap was pulling ahead - he's had some AWESOME fucking interviews lately - but Hoffman is score too.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 8:27 p.m. CST

    best actor of the 70s

    by Prossor

    was pacino. though hoffman, hackman, deniro were up there too.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Blade Runner

    by markjamesmurphy

    You should have asked him about his involvement in Blade Runner. He was supposed to be Deckard and there was a bit of pre-production to that end.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 9:19 p.m. CST

    Great interview, great talent

    by Jaka

    I love that he continues to play challenging characters that are age appropriate. Too many of his contemporaries seem to think they're twenty years younger than they actually are.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 9:19 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah!

    by Jaka

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 9:19 p.m. CST

    I never hated Ishtar, either!

    by Jaka

    Hah! Nice save, yes?

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 10:29 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Really funny in Meet the Fockers. Appears to be a nice genuine guy.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Hoffman OWNED as Master Shifu

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    "There is now...a level zero"

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 12:49 a.m. CST

    Hoffman OWNED Captain Hook in "HOOK"!

    by Mike_D

    admit it!

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Hoffman ROCKS

    by theycallmemrglass

    TO list just a fraction of his great work, Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Little Big Man, Marathon Man, Hook, and fuck yeah Kung FU Panda. The man is LEGEND. I have now got to check out Ishtar. Shame on me for following the fuckass critics. Oh and hats off to BEAKS for an awesome interview.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST

    ISHTAR / 1941 double bill, please.

    by King_Knut

    Not that I'll be there *grumble grumble*

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Hats off, Mr. Beaks. This was a classic interview

    by YackBacker

    What a great job. Hoffman sounds pretty fun, and he was obviously digging the ISHTAR love. Greak work, Beaks. This is one of the best interviews I've read on this site.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST

    nice, Beaks. You and Quint have some of the best interviews

    by m00kiedood

    It's got to be refreshing for someone like Hoffman to have an intelligent conversation like this in the middle of a long, interview slog in some hotel room -- and you can see it in his responses.<p> And I'm sure that five minutes after you left, he was faced with yet another interviewer asking him "So what was it like working with Emma Thompson? So what was it like playing a loser? So what was it like filming in New York?"<p> (If you admit that you can play the accordion,<p> No one'll hire you in a rock 'n' roll band...)

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 6:02 p.m. CST

    thought that would be boring but it wasn't

    by Rupee88

    thanks to both Hoffman and Beaks...good job to both..

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 6:26 p.m. CST


    by shellfishh

    EXCELLENT call on 1941. I unashamedly LOVE that fucking movie. But let's pair Ishtar with another movie. I want a 1941/Big Trouble In Little China double bill.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 9:33 p.m. CST

    thx some fuck will remake little big

    by bacci40

    man....nice interview with cousin dustin....maybe the fuck will finally show up to one of my family's reunions...

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Not to sound trite, but this sounds very

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    similar to About Schmidt except that he's for the wedding, and may get a happy ending.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Beaks, great interview, and Harry

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Little Big Man was ...well how does one put it...a great movie, perhaps one of Hoffman's greatest, and very underrated because it was early in his career. Oh wait, I just realized what it was. It is pre-CGI Forest Gump. Think about it.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 11:13 a.m. CST

    A TV Jingle Writer? jeee-zus

    by SomaShine

    Notice how in Hollywood no one ever has REAL jobs. Its always either ad firm, book publisher, journalist or Lawyer who have all the problems ..Seriously folks take a fucking que from 40 Year Old Virgin where the fact that it was funny because they where REAL FUCKING PEOPLE. ( well of them wasnt). When I read stuff like this it automatically makes me lose interest in the film. its like the writer or the studio bends over, smells their own fart and says..."yeeaa..lets make this guy a TV jinglest..yeaaah"

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 2:42 p.m. CST

    great interview - hoffmann not just giving canned answers

    by WWBD

    The problem with these assembly line press junket interviews is that the subject often gets bored halfway through and goes on auto pilot. But Hoffman sounds really engaged. Good work.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Little Big Man

    by ufoclub1977

    I wish this was on blu-ray

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Hudson Hawk!

    by David Lazarus Long

    I freakin' love it. Hadn't seen it in years and years and then it popped on one of the premiums last week. Heard of, but never seen Ishtar. Sounds like a riot. Hoffman's right, there's enough great art in the world that we could stop now and you could still never appreciate it all inside a single lifetime.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 10:24 p.m. CST

    The biggest irony with Wonder Emporium

    by half vader

    ... was that they didn't know how to write a child character that wasn't stereotypical, clichéd and simplistic. Or a story for young audience that wasn't like that either. And the kid they cast was so on-the-nose, acting-kid awful. I sure found it hard to be sympathetic. The ONLY stuff I loved in that misfire was that they actually confronted death. Which was weird because everything ELSE in the movie patronised a young audience. And poor Bateman being saddled with such a 1-dimensional role. Portman and Hoffman did what they could with what they had too. <o> Oh the production design was cool though. And the credits. But story story story.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 10:25 p.m. CST

    I missed Ishtar too - but PAUL WILLIAMS?

    by half vader

    That settles it. Add a new viewer.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Dustin who?

    by thebearovingian

    Though bereft of the histrionics that please the Academy so,...<p>Though brusque with her at first,...<p>Though fight you may want, young Skywalker...<p>Literary genius is among us friends. These are not just the words in a review, friends. They are lyrics of a song!

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 2:57 a.m. CST

    Dustin Hoffman vs. Dustin Diamond

    by Prossor


  • Dec. 22, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST


    by TheDudeintheShadows

    greatest hoffman movie ever

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Twenty questions

    by Chaplins_tache

    Excellent interview sir! Hoffman seems to have gotten a bad press over the years, maybe because of lazy interviewers. From his appearances on British TV though, he always comes across as a very thoughtful and funny guy who will not only answer the question asked, but also continue the train of thought that a question may open. Is there any chance of doing the question round with him that was once done with Stallone a while back? Of all the things that AICN has done over the years, those articles still serve as a highlight. If there's any actor who might be game for it, i think Dustin's the man..

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    I like his movies

    by ArcadianDS

    but the guy is politically off the reservation. He's got some views that make Harry look like a Republican spokesperson.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 3:05 p.m. CST

    he's a quality act

    by mrbong

    every interview the man does is rather entertaining. if you get the chance, find the ones he did with Graham Norton for either the BBC or Channel 4. as for his acting & films, well, what could i add? i think the last one i saw him in was Perfume, as good as ever.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Hoffman is a pure genious

    by Gorgomel

    He made me cry in Kramer vs Kramer. He made me laugh AND cry in Tootsie.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Crystal Skull is only "wrongly maligned" on talkbacks

    by MattmanReturns

    It made ridiculous sums of money domestically and worldwide, and then continued to make ridiculous sums on DVD (which would seem to indicate that people liked it enough to buy it). So don't kid yourselves into thinking it's a failure or that it's hated all over the globe. Yes, it had some very stupid parts, but I just saw the Mummy 3 and that really put things into perspective for me. Compare the scene where Brendan Fraser and his son are comparing their gun sizes to the scene where Indy and his son are talking about their pasts (Pancho Villa, not finishing school, etc). The Indy scene is good, naturalistic acting, and the Mummy scene is just horrible.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 7:37 p.m. CST

    I had chili for lunch.

    by Godovhellfire

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST

    64 posts

    by orcus

    Definitely 64 posts

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Tidbit of interview from last night's Letterman

    by skimn

    Was in an elevator in Woody Allen's building, visiting while in New York filming Tootsie in full Dorothy make-up. Riding with the AD, the elevator stops, and in walks Jose Ferrer who was also in the building.<p>In character, Hoffman goes on about how Mr. Ferrer is a brilliant actor and how "she" has loved him for years. Not recognizing Hoffman, Ferrer is very gentlemanly, accepting the praise. Hoffman continues, and asks if she could request a favor, something she has wanted to do for years. When questioned, she replied, "I would love to suck your cock."<p>Ferrer paused for a moment or two, then looked thoughtfully before saying.."Not right now.."

  • Dec. 23, 2008, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Hoffman should talk about selling out

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    Seriously, the dude whores himself out for anything he can make a buck off these days. Sad.

  • Dec. 24, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by skimn

    You mean unlike his contemporary actors of the early '70s like Al "88 Minutes" Pacino or Robert "Meet The Parents/Rocky & Bullwinkle" DeNiro..?<p>Gene Hackman has retired, and the only one still seemingly remaining true to his standards is Robert Duvall...

  • Dec. 24, 2008, 2:58 p.m. CST

    ratso rizzo...

    by bernard probably my favorite hoffman performance to date..and maybe i'm crazy, but a little bit of ratso rizzo seems to have seeped into heath ledger's joker.

  • Dec. 25, 2008, 4:37 a.m. CST


    by Cruel_Kingdom

    Yes, and they're fucking embarrassments, too. It's always sad when great artists sell out their legacies for a few measly bucks.