Hoffman gives an interview to The Talks. He discusses going to therapy, what he learned, and what makes a good therapist.
Knowing when to say a certain thing, and not wasting it. I have found that it is helpful in life, you don’t have to always say what you think to someone because if it doesn’t land then you have wasted it. When I say landing I mean is someone going to take it in, or is there a defense, I mean we all have defenses, and that can be an art form I think.
Hoffman discusses why he chose to star in the HBO series Luck:
Michael Mann and I had been trying to work together since the ’70s, and now, all these years later, he calls me up and says, You probably don’t want to do TV, but this is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. I agreed. It shows the reality of horse racing, and it is far removed from the Kentucky Derby with everybody wearing those fancy hats. There’s a sordid underside and a brutality in terms of the animals.
De Niro and Hoffman are interviewed by Letterman on The David Letterman Show. They talk about Hoffman’s meet with De Niro, working on Sleepers and their similar styles of preparing for a role. Hoffman comments:
To be fair when you’re not a known actor it’s easier to disappear into the role.
Hoffman plays Harvey Shine, a divorced commercial jingle writer, in this romantic drama written and directed by Joel Hopkins. Harvey flies into London for his daughter’s wedding only to be faced with one disappointment after another until he meets Kate (Emma Thompson) and ends up with renewed hope for his future.
Emma Thompson and I realised we had something in common – we’re both character actors, which means you’re not good-looking enough to be the lead! So we said: Why don’t we play this as close to ourselves as anything we’ve ever done?
Hoffman plays Wendell Rohr, a lawyer working a pro bono case, in this legal thriller directed by Gary Fleder from the novel by John Grisham. Rohr takes a gun manufacturer to court after his client’s husband is murdered by a man using one of their guns. Co-starring John Cusack, Rachel Weisz and Gene Hackman. On his character:
I didn’t think of him as honest or dishonest. I thought of him as naive because something tells me he’s playing like the guy who doesn’t believe that technology has even happened and all you need is your own sense.
Hoffman plays Colonel Sam Daniels, a virologist, in this horror thriller directed by Wolfgang Petersen. When a deadly virus resurfaces after 25 years, Colonel Daniels works to find the source and a cure. Co-starring Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman. On playing an action hero for the first time:
I always wanted to play James Bond, precisely for the reason that it’s amusing to you. I’m as amused as you are.
Hoffman plays Captain Hook, Peter Pan’s nemesis, in this adventure comedy directed by Steven Spielberg from the novel by J.M. Barrie. Captain Hook kidnaps the children of a grown up Peter Pan (Robin Williams) in order to lure Pan back to Neverland. Co-starring Bob Hoskins and Julia Roberts.
Bob Hoskins and I were rehearsing and suddenly we looked at each other and realised it at the same time. We said, “These guys are gay….” and it was fun. Suddenly we rehearsed it that way: “Get over here, Smee. Give me a foot massage.”
Hoffman wins the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in Rain Man (1988) of Raymond Babbitt, an idiot-savant who is reluctantly cared for by his younger brother (Tom Cruise). Hoffman:
Thank you. Thank you very much. Uh…I’m supposed to be jaded by this point. I’m very honored and I thank the Academy for your support.
Hoffman forgets to mention Cruise and Director Barry Levinson in his acceptance speech, but adds later in the ceremony:
In my nervousness I left out the director’s name, and I left out Tom’s name. Tom, thank you very much. I love you very much.
Hoffman plays Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant, in this drama directed by Barry Levinson. Raymond’s father dies and leaves the bulk of his multi-million dollar estate to the institution where Raymond lives. His brother Charlie (Tom Cruise), ignorant of Raymond’s existence till now, wants to gain custody of him in order to control the inheritance.
I accepted the fact that in order to be authentic, Raymond couldn’t have the dramatic arc that actors always look for in roles. And that instead of a full-scale painting, I would have to do a pen-and-ink drawing, a haiku.
Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, an unemployed and seemingly unemployable actor, in this comedy directed by Sydney Pollack. Michael sets out to prove his agent wrong and transforms himself into actress Dorothy Michaels, promptly getting cast in a lead role in a soap opera. Dorothy becomes a sensation and turns Michael’s world upside down. Co-starring Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman and Charles Durning. On being forced to face his notions of female beauty:
There’s too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed. That was never a comedy for me.
Hoffman wins the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of divorced dad Ted Kramer who fights his wife (Meryl Streep) for custody of his son in Robert Benton’s drama Kramer vs. Kramer. Jane Fonda presents the award.
I refuse to believe that I beat Jack Lemmon, that I beat Al Pacino, that I beat Peter Sellers. I refuse to believe that Robert Duvall lost. We are a part of an artistic family. There are sixty thousand actors in this Academy – pardon me – in the Screen Actors Guild, and probably a hundred thousand in Equity. And most actors don’t work, and a few of us are so lucky to have a chance to work with writing and to work with directing. Because when you’re a broke actor you can’t write; you can’t paint; you have to practice accents while you’re driving a taxi cab. And to that artistic family that strives for excellence, none of you have ever lost and I am proud to share this with you. And I thank you.
Hoffman plays Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo, a small-time con artist, in this drama directed by John Schlesinger from the novel by James Leo Herlihy. Ratso meets Joe Buck (Jon Voight) by offering to introduce him to a pimp. That turns out to be a con but Ratso and Joe end up hustling together even as Ratso dreams of moving to Miami. Co-starring Sylvia Miles and Brenda Vaccaro. On the famous “walking” scene:
You gotta have money to pay for a scene that includes a bunch of people on the street in midtown Manhattan. So Jon Voight and I were walking in regular traffic and being filmed by a camera hidden in a van across the street. That’s a stolen shot. That was a cab that almost hit us. In my brain, I wanted to say, “We’re making a movie here, asshole!” But your brain knows that would ruin the take. So I’m walking here! really means We’re shooting a film here!