Saturday, February 22, 2014


The stars were shining brightly above and inside the Quick Center at Fairfield University Thursday night, February 20 when veteran stage, televisIon and screen actor Dustin Hoffman and renowned director Francois Girard shared secrets and insights into their illustrious careers.  Hoffman is a storyteller and despite the questions asked by moderator and art history professor Philip Eliasoph, he went off on delightful tangents, revealing tales of his colorful and successful show business life.

Hoffman shared an apartment early on with Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman, waitered for years, didn’t do so well in college and almost accidently got cast in his breakout role as Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate” (the role was supposed to go to a tall blond with blue eyes).  Girard, who is best known for his incomparable movie which he wrote and directed, “The Red Violin,” that traces the journey of the instrument on its amazing journey through generations and centuries and trials and triumphs, is teaming with Hoffman on a new project:  Boychoir.

Filming next week at Fairfield University and at Yale, the movie will follow an eleven year old boy named Stet who is from the mid-west and is admitted to a prestigious East Coast school.  This troubled lad has an amazing voice and the school is dedicated to preparing young boys to perform in a boy’s choir.  These sopranos, singing in harmony, are lead by Hoffman as Carvelle, the Choir Master, while Alfred Molina will play a teacher, Drake, and Kathy Bates will portray the school’s headmistress.

Boys of a certain age have a three year window when their voices sound like a heavenly gift, angelic, and this is their story.  If you would like to be an extra in the film, email  People are needed to fill the audience at Yale University on March 11, 14 and 15, and you must be available from 4-8 hours.  Ben Ridley wrote the script and the film is being produced by Informant Media.

At Fairfield University, Hoffman and Girard provided a Master Class for all those fortunate to have attended.  Their conversation proved that “art really matters” and one has to be willing to do the unpredictable and to strive for “calculated perfectionism.”   As Dustin Hoffman summed up acting , “You have to work to develop empathy, to be human, and to be as courageous as you’re always a student of life.  Your body is your instrument and you are continually altering yourself so that your acting is effortless.”  To him, you must be in the moment every day, you must live your own life and you must be honest to yourself.

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