While Little Fockers seemed to have everything going for it already—Viagra jokes, kids puking in Ben Stiller’s face, a “Focker” pun crammed into every other line of dialogue—diehard fans of the series may have noticed that it was missing Dustin Hoffman’s Bernie Focker, a character absolutely crucial to the Focker mythology. While Hoffman had initially balked at appearing in the sequel due to not being able to reach a deal with Universal, today Deadline reports the joyous news that writer John Hamburg and Jay Roach have convinced Hoffman to reprise his role in a series of pick-up shots happening in September, and all it took was paying him the full original salary he was offered to do the movie in the first place. And showing him the trailer, no doubt, whereupon Hoffman was like, “Why didn’t you guys tell me about the extended riff on The Godfather?” as a huge smile cracked his inscrutably pursed lips, and then brandy and cigars were passed around, and the night was filled with the music of laughter.
Hoffman will now appear in “some pivotal scenes opposite Barbra Streisand, and then in a big scene at the end of the movie involving all the major characters. Other pickup scenes focus on Ben Stiller and the kids.” Universal believes that said additional scenes will ensure that Little Fockers—which already scored a perfectly acceptable “85” with test audiences, and who really gives a shit anyway, considering a) it’s debuting on Christmas Day, and b) people will watch absolutely anything familiar and unchallenging—will now be even better than its previews suggest. Also, they view it as “an investment in the future of the franchise,” which will apparently be around until Ben Stiller’s little Fockers have little Fockers of their own, and they can finally make Meet The Grand-Fockers—which in retrospect is where this whole thing has been headed since Day One.