Dustin Hoffman Making Directorial Debut with British Drama 'Quartet'
by Ethan Anderton
September 12, 2011
After working with some of the finest filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack, and Mike Nichols, Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman is ready to try his hand at directing. In a press release from BBC Films and DCM Productions, it was revealed that Hoffman will be at the helm of an adaptation of Ronald Harwood's stage play Quartet. In addition, Hoffman has assembled some impressive talent for the adaptation including Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Sheridan Smith and Michael Gambon starring in the film which began production in Britain today.
Here's the official synopsis for the film straight from the press release:
Lifelong friends Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay), together with former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins), are residents of Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Every year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents unite to give a concert to raise funds for their home. But when Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), a former grande dame of the opera fallen on hard times, also Reggie’s ex-wife and the fourth and most celebrated member of their former quartet, moves into the home to everyone’s surprise, the plans for this year’s concert start to unravel. As old grudges threaten to undermine past glories and theatrical temperaments play havoc with the rehearsal schedule, it becomes apparent that having four of the finest singers in English operatic history under one roof offers no guarantee that the show will go on. QUARTET is a joyous and entertaining film about redefining old age and growing old with hope, demonstrating how art illuminates life and the human spirit remains undimmed even as the brightest stars start to fade.
Harwood is adapting his own play for the big screen, and considering similar work has resulted in the screenplays for The Pianist and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (the former earned him an Academy Award win and the latter earned a nomination), this is only good news. As for Hoffman's debut as a director, I'm excited to see the actor make the jump behind the camera at this stage in his career. Actors like Clint Eastwood have made similar jumps, and the results have been fantastic, so here's hoping Hoffman can bring the same passion and quality from his on-screen work to the director's chair.