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Dustin The Dynamo Director

Cinema Scoop met with some of the cast, and the debut director of Quartet - Dustin Hoffman to chat about this fantastic new British film!

Dustin tell us about the difference from being an actor in a film, and now the director…

(As an actor) you have to protect yourself. Anyone with half a brain who does movies year after year after year learns they have to protect themselves, because it’s a b*****d art form for us. We are not allowed in the cutting room – that’s extraordinary. So when a director asks for certain nuances, certain colours, and we feel that they’re phoney but we do it because a director is asking for it, that’s the one they pick in the cutting room. I contend that when you see a movie with bad acting, don’t blame the actor. Blame those guys in the cutting room. All of us pile up the things we like about directors and the things we don’t like about directors and sometimes they are very similar. If you come on the set and see you see the director mouthing all the words while the scene is going on, it’s usually a very bad sign. It means the director has already shot the scene in his head and he knows exactly the rhythm and the nuances he wants delivered in the line and you’re not going to persuade him. Usually those people don’t even like actors and they can’t wait to get into the cutting room. They break down into categories. Directors like to be surprised and some of them abhor being surprised and that we learn as actors very early on. As far as directing, we all direct when we’re in movies, every single one of us.

How was Dustin The Director?

Pauline Collins – Dustin is a dynamo and a darling. He’s one of the most inspiring and kindest directors I’ve ever worked for because he understands how actors work because he is one.

With films like Exotic Marigold Hotel etc., do you think there is a recent interest in films for/about the ageing generation?

Maggie Smith- I don’t know why films about elderly people haven’t been made very much. They always seem to be very successful so it’s a bit baffling as to why everybody has to be treated as if they were five years old. A lot of grown ups would like films for grown ups and about grown ups, and it seems to me there’s a sort of change in what audiences want to see. I can only hope that’s correct because there’s an awful lot of people of my age around now and we kind of outnumber the others so maybe that’s why?

Sheridan, as the youngest member of the cast, how was your experience?

Sheridan Smith- I had to pinch myself every day. I tried to be like a sponge and take it all in.

And lastly, how was it working with the genuine retired musicians? That must have been special for them...

DH -For these people the phone hadn’t rung for 20, 30 or 40 years, even through they can deliver. These people in their 70s, 80s and 90s came with such verve every day – and that in itself made this an extraordinarily special occasion for all of us.

Dustin on set with the actors