Dustin Hoffman’s directing career was incredibly brief, consisting only of the frustrating, quickly scrapped early production of 1978’s Straight Time that he eventually handed over to friend and terrible Scrabble hand Ulu Grosbard. But Hoffman has certainly grown since then, having honed his craft over many years in the Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium that is the Hollywood dream factory, so he’s ready to give it another shot: Hoffman will make his official directorial debut with Quartet, a BBC Films production about four aging, retired opera singers bickering through rehearsals for a charity show. Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, and Michael Gambon star—a cast that seems like a rather blatant overture to the preteen crowd, but such is this business we call show. The last time Hoffman gave up on directing, he was done in by the logistics of shooting in and around Folsom State Prison. We’re guessing that this jaunt to the English countryside of Buckinghamshire will go a little smoother—unless Maggie Smith gets it into her head to cut someone, because she won’t rest until she does.
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