In a new interview with The Independent, Dustin Hoffman discusses his involvement in the upcoming film, “Boychoir.” The movie stars the 77-year-old Oscar-winner as Master Carvelle, a strict, assertive choir master that aims to push a rebellious and talented boy to reach his full potential. Luckily for cinephiles, the film isn’t the only topic the actor gets around to discussing, and the conversation really takes off once he begins reflecting on the film industry at large.
Check out the highlights from the revealing interview below:
Television has improved but cinema is at its worst.
“I think right now television is the best that it’s ever been, and I think that it’s the worst that film has ever been – in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it, it’s the worst,” said Hoffman. While the actor turned to television for HBO’s horse racing drama, “Luck,” the show was cancelled after Season 1 because of PETA’s protests over the death of horses on set.
Hoffman is surprised by how quick and cheap films are made these days.
“It’s hard to believe you can do good work for the little amount of money these days. We did ‘The Graduate’ and that film still sustains – it had a wonderful script that they spent three years on, and an exceptional director with an exceptional cast and crew, but it was a small movie, four walls and actors, that is all, and yet it was 100 days of shooting,” he said.
Supporting roles are where actors start and finish their careers.
Hoffman came to prominence in his role as Ben Braddock in “The Graduate.” From there, he went on to star in other box office hits such as “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Rain Man,” but even he realizes how much of an anomaly he was. “The truth is that you come full circle. I was a freak accident, so I got a lead that happened to be ‘The Graduate’ and it was like a light switch went on and I was an instant star. For most actors, you start by playing euphemistically called supporting roles — it’s not even the supporting role, it’s less than that, and if you are lucky you build up to supporting roles and then to starring roles – and then you reach a certain age, and unfortunately women usually reach it earlier, and you are no longer the leading man, therefore you become the supporting actor, which many times is the mentor of the lead. That is full circle.”
You can take a Hoffman acting class online.
Hoffman has started mentoring aspiring actors online through MasterClass, which allows anyone to pay $90 to receive 24 acting lessons from him. He believes that even after 50 years as an actor, he is still learning and trying to improve upon his acting skills.
Actors help each other out because they understand the pressures of producing good work.
Although some might think that actors live in a dog-eat-dog world, Hoffman has found that actors help each other out with acting techniques. “I just like actors and I like working with them,” he said. “I have said it before that I just don’t think the public realizes how much we help each other. You say to other actors, ‘I just don’t think I’m doing good work,’ and the other actors say, ‘When we were just running lines you were right on the button!’ Then the director comes in and says, ‘We need more energy.’ It’s like in these prison movies, you have to talk out of the side of your mouth. We help each other because we are all in the same bind.”
Hoffman would love to be a pianist.
As his acclaimed filmography makes clear, Hoffman is a true perfectionist. Though he loves piano and would enjoy being a jazz pianist, he doesn’t believe that he has the talent to pursue a musical career. He said, “I love it more than anything. But I can’t play well enough to make a living out of it. If God tapped me on the shoulder right now and said, ‘No more acting, no more directing, but you can be a decent jazz pianist’… I could never read music gracefully. I don’t have a good ear. I still want to do it. I would love to do it.”
READ MORE: Watch: Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates and More Gather to Perform in ‘Boychoir’ Trailer