"Dustin hoffman is the great master of the art of acting!" (Jack Black)
"Psychologically, myself, we did not think about making it in the terms that people think about. We fully expected to be failures for our entire life. Meaning that we would always be scrambling to get a part. We were actors. We had no pretensions. There was more dignity in being unsuccessful." (Gene Hackman)
Q: If a movie were to be made about your life, what would it be called, and who would play you?
"It would be called The Dustin Hoffman Story. When we were starting out, [Robert] De Niro, me and Hoffman were always sort of mixed up. People mistook us for each other." (Al Pacino)
Everyday, Dustin sent me books and articles about the disease....every...day!" (During making of Outbreak) (Morgan Freeman)
Q: Why were you recording off the T.V., so you could recite lines from a T.V. show?
Yeah, I just used to always…long before I wanted to be an actor, I got… you know that wonderful, wonderful…the Dustin Hoffman Lenny?
Q: Oh yes.
Who was the director?
Q: Bob Fosse.
I remember, before I’d ever even seen the movie, I’d found the record. I thought it was music and I put this thing on, I didn’t even know how I came by it, it was in an attic or somewhere, or someone had it, and it was all those monologues.
Q: Lenny Bruce?
Yeah, with Dustin Hoffman doing it.
Yeah, the soundtrack from the movie. So I just learned them all, before I even had an idea that I wanted to be an actor. I used to be at school, and I used to be the only 13, 14 year old walking around going, “Eleanor Roosevelt gave Lou Gehrig the clap.” I didn’t even know what I was talking about! So I used to tape stuff…
"Dustin is such an original and unique person that it was just a completely different relationship than I’ve ever had with anybody else. He’s just so wonderful and has such a combination of being a mentor and a colleague and a parent and a friend and a kid, all of those things. There are many different levels to it, both in the movie and in the professional working relationship." (Natalie Portman)
"If a guy like him can become a star, what'll happen to guys like Newman and me?" (Steve McQueen)
"The effect of having an American Shylock performing with a British cast makes the play seem even more anti-Semitic because there's a snobbery about English actors . . . I enjoyed what Dustin was doing. He made me feel how good American actors are. They bring some feelings to the line. Most British actors, with all due respect to the best ones, just say words in an elevated way. You don't get the feelings." (Joseph Papp)
"I think Dustin is out of this world in the movie (Last chance Harvey) Harvey, his character, was a bad father who seems to recognize that. Dustin, though, is a wonderful father — his children are his life." (Emma Thompson)
Q: Ben, this is a heavy weight cast. Who was the most intimidating one to work with? (During Meet The Fockers)
Very quickly after meeting Dustin, the whole image I had of him was shattered. I was intimidated by the idea of working with Barbra, Dustin and Robert, but it left very quickly after we went into rehearsal, after a couple of days, we were all just actors sitting around, trying to make this thing work. And I felt a very warm feeling from both Barbra and Dustin as parents (Barbra touches his hair). There’s a lot of physicality, and Dustin would do that to me too which wasn’t quite as nice.
Q: Were you excited to get Barbra and Dustin as your parents?
Extremely. We wouldn’t even believe it that we would…when we talked about who the parents would be, Dustin and Barbra were high in the sky ideas of who we’d like to see." (Ben Stiller)
Q. How did you enjoy having Dustin Hoffman as a co-star?
We shot those scenes with Dustin in the first two weeks of the shoot and I remember thinking: “This can’t be a good decision; surely we should be doing some easing in or some warming up.” But it was absolutely perfect because Dustin takes such pleasure in what he does and there’s nothing tense about him. He exudes joy and passion for what he’s doing and that infects everyone. It certainly put me at ease coming to work with him every day. I felt his confidence and freedom rubbed off. He doesn’t censor himself or stop an idea because he thinks it might be wrong; he just does it and later it’s decided whether it works or not. So it was incredible to observe that. He also never does the same thing twice which is totally stimulating because you’re always getting something new from him. You never really know what he’s going to do next, so you have to be on your toes. But you want to be nimble and responsive, so that was great too. (Ben Whishaw)
"Dustin and I got in (The Actor's Studio) the same year. I kept hearing there was this actor, Dustin Hoffman...he's terrific." (Al Pacino)
"Dustin is a great believer in physical acting. Whenever we had to do a running scene -- you know, most actors would just say: "Well, just dab a bit of glycerine on my face, and I'll look sweaty." Not so with Dustin. He had to run right round the Ninety-first Street area of Central Park, so that he was really out of breath, which has always made me curious as to what they do when they're going to enact someone murdering somebody. ... Or having sex." (John Schlesinger)
Q: You dropped out of Columbia University in New York with two years to go. Was that a tough decision?
I completed my core courses in my first two years, so in my third and fourth years, I would be majoring (specialising - ED). My point was that I had a movie (MOONLIGHT MILE) with Dustin Hoffman coming up at the time, and so I just thought to myself, "what better university than the university I'm in, working with great teachers like Dustin Hoffman?" So that was what made up my mind for me. No regrets.
Q: Describe your working experience with Hoffman.
I think that everyone kind of feels like they have to tiptoe around icons like that. And with the younger actors, I think that he does like to do a little trip, a little intimidation game. I would, you know, show my feathers and he would rip them out.
Q: Did he do that the whole time you were shooting the movie?
Yeah. I think the dynamic kind of showed itself in the film a little bit too. Working with Susan though was a much more relaxed experience. Maybe it's because it's male-female versus a male-male dynamic, but with Susan, we just really became friends. We talked and we hung out.
Q: Totally different from Dustin Hoffman?
Yeah. And they have two totally different styles of work. I mean, Susan does two takes. Dustin works forever and has little pieces of brilliance. Susan has no notes on her script and Dustin has eight thousand notes all over his script and they both get to the same end. As a young actor, it's a little confusing because you're wishing for a key!
Q: Where are you on that continuum? Closer to Dustin Hoffman?
I don't really know. I mean, I do a tremendous amount of preparation. After I did MOONLIGHT MILE, I went to London to do a play on the West End, and my decision to do that was primarily influenced by Dustin who kept telling me that I had to get on stage. He said: "You're pretty good, but you've gotta get up on the boards, it's a real testing ground." The play was really the end of a series of 'teenager in transition' roles I had in "Donnie Darko", "The Good Girl", and "Lovely & Amazing". It culminates the end of a period of my life for me. Following that, I decided I wanted to take on different kinds of roles and that's pretty much where I'm at now. (Jake Gyllenhaal)
"I've been so lucky in my career to work with the people I've worked with. Going to work everyday with Dustin Hoffman is once again just an amazing gift you know. Really a funny, funny guy. Very inventive, very creative, very quick, very clever." (Johnny Depp)
"One of the joys of the movie (All the President's Men) was working with Dustin; he has one of the most wonderful acting minds I've ever worked with." (Robert Redford)
"He's energized and the greatest combination of the generous and the selfish that ever lived. He wants to be the greatest actor who ever was." (Meryl Streep)
"The first two weeks of filming (Stranger Than Fiction) were with Dustin everyday and to get to work with someone that you admire as much as Dustin Hoffman, you know...and to have him be as friendly and as warm and as giving as an actor and person as he is...it was just so much fun, you didn't want those two weeks to end." (Will Ferrell)
"Dustin Hoffman is I suppose one of the most siminal figures of my life in a sense that from his early work is embeded in my consiousness. I'd always been very much in love with Ratso from Midnight Cowboy. I'd always had this dream and fancy that I would be able to met him and make him better and we'd live happily ever after because he was so charistmatic and wonderful and funny and touching. So that's been...a sort of a dream come true working with Dustin." (Emma Thompson)
[On The Lost City cast] "Along with Bill Murray I was also very fortunate to get the support of dear friend of mine and one of the greatest actors in the history of film. Like Bill, you know, he's a Dustin Hoffman. What makes him such a great actor like Bill is, he...they bring a lot to the table." (Andy Garcia)
Q: Did you ever work with any of the other voice cast or were you always by youself? I was mostly by myself. I got to work with Dustin Hoffman once for like 30 minutes just because our characters have some nice serious scenes together. It’s hard just doing it by yourself. And definitely when you’re acting with Dustin Hoffman instead of just by yourself, he definitely brings out the best in you. When you work with good people, it helps. (Frankie Muniz)
"I was removed from that (Lenny) at the time it was offered to me. I've since got some ideas for comics and what they go through and who Lenny Bruce was. Dustin did a great job, so I was happy about that." (Al Pacino)
You mention Dustin Hoffman and you've mentioned him before. Is he somebody you've considered working with? I've always thought, that all the parts I can play, he can play and probably much better (Woody Allen)
This is the first time you've worked with Dustin Hoffman. Did you know him from your early days in New York, or had to met him before? I've known Dustin and known his work, of course, for years and years, but we had only met briefly a couple of times. Well, actually, that's not true - way back in the 70's, when Bob Evans was going to do the popeye originally, he wanted Dustin to play Popeye and I was tapped to be Olive Oyl. I don't know how certain I was as Oliver Oyl or not, but we met over at Bob Evan's house that many years ago. Anyway, of course I was thrilled to work with Dustin. He's very mensch-y and very easy to get on with, anyways. And I'm totally open to whatever anybody has to carry with. (Lily Tomlin)
"I want a career like Jeff Bridges or Dustin Hoffman. I'd rather be known for my work than my face." (Sam Rockwell)
"I just met Dustin Hoffman, we may be doing a film together, and to see the relish and the almost carnal way he regards acting is terrific, you know...that's kind of an inspiration." (Anthony Hopkins)
“I was introduced to what [acting] could be and the magic of it. I watched a lot of Dustin Hoffman and watched a lot of Voight, and you start seeing that these dudes are magicians. There was this beauty to not having to be yourself. Playing other people and being able to get away from yourself. It was therapeutic.” (Shia LaBeouf)
Q: Do you think in the future you’ll do something with Dustin Hoffman? Jonah Hill: Yeah, I love Dustin and I love the whole Hoffman family. They’ve been so great and they’re wonderful people. Dustin and I have talked about one day we should do something together but nothing’s really crystallized at this point. (Jonah Hill)
"I was very upset not to have been able to do Rain Man, mainly because I've wanted to work with Dustin Hoffman even since I saw The Graduate." (Steven Spielberg)
"Dusty and I worked together -- and I can call him Dusty now, we’ve gotten to that point. It was great to work with him (On Kung Fu Panda) and I think you guys and Jeffrey just wanted us to get together to see what would happen because for the most part, we work in isolation. It’s just easier that way so you don’t have overlap and just technical reasons and schedule reasons, you know? It’s fun to work together, but it’s also really helpful to be able to just focus on your performance and to just explore all the different lines and joke angles you can take without the other actor there who is like, “C’mon Jack, we’re on hour number three on the same joke. I’m Dustin Hoffman, I have to move!” But, when we did get together, I was intimidated because I have been a huge fan of his for my whole life, it seems. And it was cool to get tips from him, acting tips and, yeah, he is the master for real." (Jack Black)
“I wish I could claim I had any approach to working on a scene. Hoffman definitely did. He’s deeply exploratory of a scene; he likes to rehearse a lot. He said to me several times, ‘If I could just always rehearse, I would. I would just rehearse and rehearse and never actually have to shoot it’ because it’s fun to just keep exploring. He was constantly wondering ‘where does the scene go?' I guess he’s sort of an Actors Studio guy….I’d describe it as being like Picasso, a Cubist painting of the scene, it would get very fragmented and he’d go back a lot and review something from a different angle. He’s very lively and accessible; a jokester. He sees part of his job as keeping everybody very engaged and having a good time.” (Paul Giamatti)
"I am not where I want to be at. And I hope I will never go to the stage where I've gotten there and I am comfortable. Because that's the death of an actor. Look at Hoffman, he is still striving, pushing and fighting. Comfort is the end." (Shia LaBeouf)
(On Merchant of Venice play starring Dustin) "I'm sure ninety-nine percent of the audience comes to see Dustin Hoffman." (Peter Hall)
"Hoffman is incredibly bright. I wanted to go through the process with him. And I like to hear all the information I can get, different ideas of approaching a scene. I was thankful. As a young actor, to have the opportunity to work with him, to ask the right questions. I was excited about the opportunity." (Tom Cruise)
"Dustin Hoffman's sort of my favorite among the current actors; I don't know how you can do better than him." (James Stewart)
"As I didn't think of The Apartment as a comedy, although they called it a comedy, I always thought of it as a drama. Dusty never thought of Tootsie as a comedy, and I can understand that. And his performance is
very dead on straight. I mean he isn't trying to be - you don't ever get the feeling that, 'ah, Dusty's doing a funny scene.' He can be funny, but it was never as if he knew it or if he intended it to be funny, he played it just honestly." (Jack Lemmon)
"Dustin -- when I was in film school, The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy are two of the films that made me want to make movies. So Dustin has been a real hero for a long time. So the night before the rehearsal - I'd never met him before that - you're nervous, knowing you're going to go out the next day and play one on one with Michael Jordan. You're going to lose. But the good thing is, you show up and you're not playing against him, you're playing with him. Dustin is really that kind of actor. He's all about working together." (Edward Burns)
(At Dustin's Lifetime Achievement Award) "He's not only a great actor, he's also a good friend of ours and so we're here to support him and say well done for a lifetime of fantastic work and hopefully more to come." (Sting)
"It (Hero) wasn't a great movie. On the other hand it had a lot of good stuff. And of course Dustin and Andy Garcia." (Chevy Chase)
"I’ll never forget working with Dustin Hoffman on Wag the Dog. He’s in the hall of fame among maybe the top five actors of all time." (Denis Leary)
"Dustin...he's so disarming. He disarms you within a second, and I'm just putty in his hand." (Rachel Weisz)
Q: It seems like you'vc grown pretty close to some of these iconic performers, espesically after that press conference earlier with you and Dustin Hoffman. Is that what it was like on the set, too? Especially with Dustin. He's so funny so getting to do this press stuff, it makes me think we need to be doing a buddy comedy together. Q: Would you really consider doing that? I'd love to! You know what's funny? Of course he did Tootsie and that's a funny movie and he's won Academy Awards as this dramatic actor, but you see him, what's your sense of him? He seems more like he's Robin Williams. Doesn't he? Q: Exactly! So is he the funniest of the bunch? Well, I would say Dustin is definitely a nice person to be paired with when you're doing press junkets because he's really going to do a lot of heavy lifting because he says so much funny stuff. He makes it entertaining." (Owen Wilson)
"I was inspired to go into acting by Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino." (Paulo Costanzo)
"Dustin was without any question one of actors to whom I looked as an inspiration. 'Hey, there's another guy who is not exactly an good looking idol who's a leading man.'" (Edward Norton)
Have to ask: How was it working with Dustin Hoffman? Our first scene was his character interviewing me for a job. Of course I’m terrified. All I can think of is how I don’t belong there. On the first take, I just said the lines and got through it. The director comes out and tells me, I want to see that you’re more nervous. Dustin clocks that note. Take 2: I say my first line and Dustin just stares at me. And then he rips into me. All improvised. How worthless I am. How I don’t know the first thing about acting. There are 70 people standing around watching. The cameras are still rolling. I go white hot. I can’t remember who I am. I want to vomit. But it became this dance. I would say a line, and he’d say, “I see you acting. Start over.” It was a miniature master class. He just rode me nonstop. He gave me the gift of saying out loud all the garbage in my head. It was so painful and scary. I went home and thought I was going to be fired. But the phone didn’t ring and the phone didn’t ring. And then it was time to go to set again. (Patrick J. Adams)
"At first, when I met Dustin Hoffman, it as like 'This is one of the best actors of his generation.' When I met him I was scared. I mean, he's little and he just sort of sits there and watches you. And then as soon as he starts talking he makes you laugh and break down all those barriers." (Nicole Kidman)
"I think certain actors are extraordinary.... [Jack] Nicholson, [Al] Pacino,[Dustin] Hoffman. Those actors - I’ll watch anything they’re in no matter how bad it is." (Anton Yelchin)