Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Directing was 'natural way to go'

Dustin Hoffman and his wife Lisa arrive for the screening of new film Quartet

Dustin Hoffman has revealed the "dreamlike" response to his directorial debut has inspired him to get behind the camera again.

The 75-year-old star was greeted by crowds of fans at the BFI London Film Festival premiere of Quartet, a British comedy about four elderly opera singers who are reunited in a specialist retirement home.

Asked why it had taken him so long to direct a film, Hoffman - who enlisted veteran actors Dame Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly and Sir Tom Courtenay for the film - quipped: "I'm lazy. No, I was just always frightened. I can give you the phone number of my therapist, she'll give you a better answer."

He added: "We've shown this film at festivals and it's had such dreamlike responses. It's the first time I've ever been comfortable coming to a premiere."

The Midnight Cowboy star said the move from acting to directing was "the natural way to go" and he now hopes to direct again.

"Ultimately you know at least as much as the director does because you've been an actor, and the best directors I think are the ones that have been actors," he said.

"There's a few projects in the pipeline, yes, but as usual I think it will take longer to get them right than I'll be alive. But the trick is not to wait until a script is right to do it."

Hoffman was joined on the red carpet at the Odeon Leicester Square by the film's stars, including comic Connolly, who at 69 is the youngest of the quartet.

"I'm seldom the youngest. I'm always the oldest person in the room and I'm always the oldest person in the house so to be the youngest was astonishing," he said.

Connolly added of the first-time director: "He was lovely. He was kind and funny and nice."

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