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Dustin Hoffman in tears as he talks about new film Quartet at East Finchley cinema

PUBLISHED: 18:31 21 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:39 22 January 2013

Dustin Hoffman meets fans outside the Phoenix Cinema on Friday. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Dustin Hoffman meets fans outside the Phoenix Cinema on Friday. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Archant

Hollywood icon Dustin Hoffman broke down in tears as he spoke about the inspiration behind his directorial film debut during a last-minute visit to an East Finchley cinema on Friday (January 19).

The 75-year-old star joined fans at the Phoenix Cinema, in the High Road, sitting at the back of the venue for a showing of his new film Quartet before taking centre stage for a special Q&A session with audience members.

Mr Hoffman’s visit was only confirmed earlier in the week and tickets to see the double Oscar winner sold out almost instantly.

However, the packed auditorium certainly got their money’s worth as the Rain Man star spoke candidly about his life and career.

Talking about Quartet, starring veteran actors Dame Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay, Hoffman fought back tears as he described briefing the cast during the film’s production.

“I said ‘We are all in the same boat, we are all in our 70s, we have all been lucky enough to reach great stardom’,” he said.

“We have reached a point where suddenly we are not being given leading parts, that’s for people in their 30s and 40s, and Maggie is an anomaly because I think it’s extraordinary what she’s been doing now.”

During the evening, Hoffman also praised the century-old cinema, which he called a “gorgeous theatre”, and lamented the decline of traditional cinema culture.

He said: “Kids don’t go to the movies anymore.

“They’ve got the internet and iPhone and that’s a sad thing because to come here and to sit at the back and be part of what a movie audience is – 300 or 400 audience members – there’s something which can be spiritual about it.

“You’re all there not knowing each other, laughing, and that is something to cherish and that is something which got me when I sat at the back.”

To read more about Dustin Hoffman’s visit to the Phoenix Cinema, see this Thursday’s Ham&High.

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