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Dustin Hoffman is one of the great American actors. His legacy includes legendary performances in films like The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Tootsie, Marathon Man, and Rain Man, But according to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoffman is ready to venture behind the camera for the first time in his career. The two-time Oscar winner will be directing a film adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s stage play Quartet, set to open in 2012. The story centers on a group of former opera singers now residing in a retirement home. It appears Hoffman is putting together quite an outstanding cast for his directorial debut.
So far the cast of Quartet boasts Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, and Billy Connolly as well as Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay. We are talking about some of the finest actors Britain has to offer. It’s almost like The Expendables with The Royal Shakespeare Company. It's not all that surprising that Hoffman sought out these actors. Given that he is an incredible actor himself who’s been plying his trade for so long, his eye for talent should by all rights be well honed. This is also why Gary Oldman was so keen on casting Colin Firth for his directorial debut. It also makes sense that Smith, Gambon, et al would agree to be in Quartet considering the clout that Hoffman possesses. Let’s just hope none of them saw Little Fockers.
The plot of the film intrigues me. Apparently this group of retired opera singers gives a yearly performance in an effort to raise money for their retirement home. But suddenly a new arrival threatens their entire way of life. Is this new arrival a resident or a greedy new owner? Is it possible that this could end up being a “save the rec center” movie? Could we be getting a film similar to Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo but with elderly opera singers in place of break-dancers? I’m dabbling in absurdities of course, but there is a part of me that would very much like to see that.
Given the plethora of iconic actors in this film, and additionally the one sitting in the director’s chair, it’s no surprise that the distributors had no problem marketing the film worldwide. Quartet is only in pre-production and has already landed distribution deals in Australian, Germany, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Taiwan just to name a few. Music is said to be the international language, but having Dustin Hoffman attached to the project doesn’t hurt either.