Early last year, it was announced that Hoffman would make his directorial debut on an adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play "Quartet," which follows four opera singers in a retirement home who decide to hold a concert in celebration of the great composer Verdi, but find their relationships getting in the way. And, as you might expect, he's assembled a cast so impressive that it's becoming a sort of "The Expendables" for elderly British thesps.
Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins ("Shirley Valentine") and comic Billy Connolly will take the four lead roles, the latter taking over from Peter O'Toole, who himself was replacing the originally-cast Albert Finney. Michael Gambon will also take a role, as will youthful British stage actress Sheridan Smith, who recently won an Olivier award for her turn in the West End version of "Legally Blonde," and who will help to bring the average age of the cast down to a mere 94.7 years.
All in all, it's a fearsome collection of actors, and with Hoffman at the helm, it's got to be a force to be reckoned with performance-wise, although whether he's got any filmmaking chops is yet to be seen, but having worked with greats from Mike Nichols to the guy who made "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," he must have picked up a few tricks along the way. Filming started today, so expect to see this targeting the 2012 awards season. [EW]