Dustin Hoffman gave a rare interview today when he called in to Howard Stern’s Sirius/XM Satellite Radio show yesterday morning. The fifteen minute conversation ranged from Hoffman’s early career when he shared an New York City apartment with Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall to New York state politics and former Governor Eliot Spitzer.
Hoffman called in at the behest of his Los Angeles assistant and driver Adam Fox, as part of a contest the Stern Show is having to see who the biggest celebrity a listener could get to call in.
As Stern quizzed Hoffman on his various films, the topic turned to roles that that Hoffman had a chance to play, but turned down.
“There was twice I could have worked with Bergman,” Hoffman stated. He passed on the first opportunity in order to be close to his pregnant wife. He let the second opportunity pass by when he “wasn’t feeling the script.”
“There was once I could have worked with Felini,” added Hoffman, explaining that he thought that the Italian director’s habit of filming without sound recording only to record the dialogue later would harm his performance.
“These are all terrible rationalizations,” Hoffman admitted.
“Steven Spielberg is a good friend,” Hoffman continued. “I’ve worked with him once [on Hook], but he likes to remind me that I’ve turned him down four times.” After explaining that he had turned down roles in Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Schindler’s List, Hoffman joked that “I’m working through it in therapy.”
While not a fan, Hoffman told Stern that he first heard of him from director Barry Sonnenfeld while working together on Rain Man. Stern used the opportunity to talk about the project he had almost collaborated with Sonnenfeld on.
Stern also took the time to ask Hoffman about an incident that he was involved in that provided much discussion on the show at the time it happened- Lily Tomlin’s much publicized eruption on the set of David O. Russell’s.
“I take her defense and the director’s,” Hoffman explained. “The fight was really over artistic principals. My viewpoint on that is that if YouTube had been around as long as my career, you’d know that that was the norm. It happens at least once on a set.”