HE’S a multi- award winning actor, earning two Oscars, three BAFTAS and an Emmy Award among others during an illustrious career that has spanned more than five decades.
But Dustin Hoffman’s latest role is something that few could have seen coming, moving from the glitz and glamour of the movie world into Australian homes as he takes the lead in rich new HBO series Luck.
It’s part of a trend that has seen a number of A- list actors make the transition in recent years from movies into headlining their own television shows.
Forest Whitaker in Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour, Kathy Bates in Harry’s Law and Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock are only some of those who have previously contributed to the blurring of the traditional line between movies and television.
And sadly, Hoffman has ended up down on his luck.
Luck launched to positive reviews from critics in its movie- length premiere in the US, prompting cable television giant HBO to promptly order a second series of 10 episodes.
Then it went pear- shaped. First, viewer numbers plummeted. Then three horses died during production, prompting a swag of animal rights protests, and HBO cancelled season two.
That leaves Hoffman’s gamble on the big budget blockbuster a single roll of the dice, because after the season currently playing out on our screens, there is no more.
Set at California’s Santa Anita Park with a story delving into the unscrupulous side of horse racing, the nine- part series includes an impressive albeit somewhat ageing cast: 70- yearold Golden Globe winner Nick Nolte, 71- year- old Oscar- nominated British actor Michael Gambon ( aka Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies) and 67- year- old Dennis Farina ( Snatch, Get Shorty ).
For 74- year- old Hoffman, the opportunity to play Chester Ace Bernstein, a shady racehorse owner looking for justice after serving three years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, was an opportunity not to turn down.
‘‘ What a star doesn’t anticipate is that you’re going to come full circle: you’re going to wind up supporting the leads, because people don’t write leads for actors in their 70s,’’ Hoffman says pragmatically.
Referring to the Kung Fu Panda