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Dustin Hoffman as Supporting Roles: 7 Times Star Shined Without Being Lead Actor

By    |   Monday, 30 March 2015 09:02 PM

Dustin Hoffman has taken lead roles in most of his stage, cinema, and television work. As his reputation grew, he lent his star status to movies and television roles that he either shared the lead with others or was in a supporting role.

Here are seven Dustin Hoffman roles where he was able to shine while leaving the lead to someone else:

1. “Papillon” (1973)

Hoffman took second billing to Steve McQueen in this prison flick. He played convict Louis Dega, who befriends McQueen's title character on Devil's Island. McQueen was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

2. “Family Business” (1989)

Hoffman was cast as Sean Connery's son and Matthew Broderick's father in this crime comedy. It was generally disliked by critics and only made about $12 million at the box office.

3. “Wag the Dog” (1997)

This political satire used Hoffman's talents in an ensemble cast with Robert DeNiro and Anne Heche. Despite the ensemble credit arrangement, Hoffman received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

4. “Sphere” (1998)

Michael Crichton's sci-fi novel was turned into a Barry Levinson film in which Hoffman shared billing with Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, and Liev Schreiber. Hoffman and his fellow stars couldn't save the movie, which only made about half its estimated budget back in the box office.

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“Sphere features an A-level cast working with B-grade material, with a story seen previously in superior science-fiction films,” wrote the critic aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

5. “Moonlight Mile” (2002)

Susan Sarandon and Hoffman play the parents of Joe Nast, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. After Nast's fiancé is killed, he moves in with his parents who are faced with helping Joe cancel wedding plans and deal with his grief.

Critics wrote about the movie in terms of Hoffman's return to the big screen after several years. “As Mr. Hoffman grows older,” wrote New York Times film critic A. O. Scott, “his serious, fastidious approach to acting grows heavier.”

6. “Runaway Jury” (2003)

Hoffman played Wendell Rohr, a plaintiff's lawyer, in the John Grisham novel adaptation. Hoffman's character is not a major part of the book, but he is used in the movie as a foil for Gene Hackman's role as a jury consultant for the tobacco industry defense.

Hackman and Hoffman worked together at the Pasadena Playhouse in the 1960s before they both made it big in Hollywood.

7. “Kung Fu Panda” (2008)

Master Shifu, the kung fu master and small red panda who teaches Jack Black's character to become the Dragon Warrior, was Hoffman's first role in an animated feature. While the role introduced him to a new generation of moviegoers, Hoffman said he didn't enjoy doing animation voiceover work compared to on-screen acting.

Hoffman claimed he didn't like making the movie and described performing voiceover lines without any of the other actors in the scene in the same room as "painstaking."

“I wish there was a way to make these films where the actors interact all the time, but the process is — you can't do it,” Hoffman said in an interview with director Mark Osborne on Collider.

Despite his stated misgivings, he voiced "Kung Fu Panda 2" in 2011, and a third installment currently in post-production.

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Dustin Hoffman has taken lead roles in most of his stage, cinema, and television work. As his reputation grew, he lent his star status to movies and television roles in which he either shared the lead with others or took a supporting role.
dustin hoffman, roles, star, shined, supporting
Monday, 30 March 2015 09:02 PM
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