Dustin Hoffman is one of America’s greatest living Actors…still making movies and TV shows after decades in the business…and he was on Talk Soup!
More on this appearance later, but first, let’s look at some of his incredible acting credits:
Of course his huge break was as The Graduate, then add Papillon, Lenny, Little Big Man, Straight Time, Rain Man, All The President’s Men, and of course TOOTSIE!
I mean, this just scratches the surface…I have written about some of these movies before (Tootsie as a great movie about TV, for example), and I plan to highlight a few more of these terrific performances soon…
“That’s DIRECTOR Hoffman To You!”
Hoffman steps behind the camera for the first time since he fired himself as Director after day one of his 1978 film “Straight Time”! Here’s the trailer for his official directorial debut, “Quartet!”
“Quartet” is opening in many cities, with a larger expansion still to come…I LOVE the idea of this film, and what a great cast as well!
Here’s the plot: Cecily, Reggie, and Wilfred are in a home for retired opera singers. Every year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday and they take part. Jean, who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium.
She still acts like a diva, but she refuses to sing. Still, the show must go on… and it does with a terrific cast!
Dame Maggie Smith is on a roll, starring in “Quartet” along with the recent “Exotic Marigold Hotel” and of course “Downton Abbey”…I look forward to seeing this film!
Dustin Not Only Directs, But BOY CAN HE ACT!
As I said, Hoffman has a lifetime of great performances… let’s get started with a pair of classic performances in two very different films, both directed by legendary Director John Schlesinger:
Ratso Rizzo: I’m walking here! I’m walking here!
This brilliant film won Best Picture in 1969 – and remains the ONLY X-rated film to ever win the award….check out the trailer:
Jon Voight stars as Texas greenhorn Joe Buck – a “stud” who arrives in New York for the first time. Preening himself as a real ‘hustler’, he finds that he is the one getting ‘hustled’ until he teams up with a down-and-out but resilient outcast named Ratso Rizzo.
And that’s the plot: a country “hick” learns how to survive in the big city, thanks to “Ratso”, an amazing performance by Dustin Hoffman, including the legendary line:
“I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”
This is New York City at its grittiest – and to survive, you had to be willing to do ANYTHING. For Ratso, that meant crashing holiday parties to steal the food on the buffet table…and have no shame when caught:
Gretel McAlbertson: Why are you stealing food?
Ratso Rizzo: I was just, uh, noticing that you’re out of salami. I think you oughtta have somebody go over to the delicatessen, you know, bring some more back.
Gretel McAlbertson: Gee, well, you know, it’s free. You don’t have to steal it.
Ratso Rizzo: Well, if it’s free, then I ain’t stealin’.
A well-known “method” Actor, meaning you lose yourself within the character, Hoffman kept pebbles in his shoe to ensure his limp would be consistent from shot to shot. More on his “method” later…
Dustin Hoffman’s performance as “Ratso” Rizzo is ranked #7 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
Elvis IS Joe Buck!
According to the great website IMDB, one studio executive sent Director John Schlesinger a memo stating, “If we could clean this up and add a few songs, it could be a great vehicle for Elvis Presley.”
Presley wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, and was interested in the role of Joe Buck. Presley went on instead to do Change of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore, which bombed, and became his last theatrical movie.
It is hard to imagine that Elvis would have filmed some of the movie’s tougher scenes…and FYI, the film was subsequently re-rated “R”, but it is a rough movie…
And now, another great Hoffman performance in a great action thriller:
This classic thriller was also directed by John Schlesinger…check out the trailer:
Dustin Hoffman stars as a graduate history student, who is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.
“Is Is Safe?”
Legendary Actor, Sir Lawrence Olivier stars as the Nazi war criminal, who asks a very innocent and naive Dustin Hoffman the questions he can’t possibly know the answer to: “is it safe?”
And so, Olivier let’s Dustin know what is in store for him – since he won’t give him the answer he needs…
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going into that cavity. That nerve’s already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I’ll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. That is unless, of course, you can tell me that it’s safe.”
This is one of the most intense scenes ever captured on film…
Laurence Olivier was so afraid that he would accidentally hurt Dustin Hoffman while filming the torture scene that he would constantly ask Hoffman if he was all right after shooting a take. As a joke, Hoffman tried to make Olivier think that he had really hurt him by screaming in a very convincing and unexpected manner.
“My Dear Boy, why don’t you just try ACTING?”
A story circulated for a long time that Dustin Hoffman (being a “method actor”) stayed up all night to play a character who has stayed up all night. Arriving on the set, Laurence Olivier asked Hoffman why he looked the way he did. Hoffman told him, to which Olivier replied in jest, “Why not try acting? It’s much easier.”
Hoffman repeatedly denied the story, and finally cleared up the matter in 2004. The torture scene was filmed early in the morning, Hoffman was going through a divorce from his first wife and was depressed, and had spent the previous two nights partying hard. Hoffman told Olivier this and his comment related to his lifestyle and not his “method” style of acting.
More to talk about soon – congrats to Dustin Hoffman for an amazing careers of great performances!
Dustin Hoffman on “Talk Soup!”
Nothing, however, may top his performance on “Talk Soup”…
Here is the back story: my wife Alex Duda was the Executive Producer of the show, and they heard that Dustin Hoffman’s kids were fans of the show…so they did “on-air” pleas for him to stop by…and finally had Host John Henson go on a hunger strike…the only one in history where someone GAINED weight during it…and it worked…check it out!