[Update: It's been confirmed: Hoffman will be returning.]
It seems as though Universal Pictures' forthcoming comedy sequel Little Fockers is in a tiny bit of trouble. The film, which is currently in post-production, has allegedly not been testing well, and because of this reshoots are needed. The extent of these reshoots is debatable, but the word on the street is that Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman may be joining the cast in an attempt to make the comedy...well, funnier.
Deadline recently ran with a story saying that the film has been in trouble since the cameras started rolling, and at one point Universal even considered replacing director Paul Weitz with producer-writer John Hamburg. However, cooler heads prevailed when they realized that there might be a bit of trouble from the Directors Guild of America, so they decided – as the old Hollywood saying goes - “to fix things in post production.”
For the last month or so star Ben Stiller has been sifting through the footage alongside Weitz, Hamburg and original Meet the Parents director Jay Roach to see what was needed to make the film workable. Their outcome was reshoots or pick-ups with the principal cast members this coming September.
However, Vulture has a source close to the production who states that the pick-ups won't just be minor tweaks – they’ll be entirely new scenes featuring Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman starred in the previous sequel, Meet The Fockers, but he declined an offer to reprise his role for this film. At the time it was believed that the studio wasn’t willing to give the star the salary that he expected, or a sizeable enough role to make it worth his time.
If this is indeed the case and Little Fockers in now relying on Hoffman to plug the leaks, then the acclaimed actor could probably get a sizeable check for his effort - just like Marlon Brando commaned $3 million for appearing in Superman back in 1978. Hoffman could ask for similar coin for a couple of weeks' work. Heck, in 1998 Joe Pesce was paid $12 million for Lethal Weapon 4. Just think about that for a minute...
There is one problem for Universal – Hoffman is currently signed to David Milch and Michael Mann’s HBO drama series Luck, meaning that he could be unavailable, or at the very least Fockers would have to be shot around his schedule. The film isn’t scheduled to open until December, so there is still time to fix these problems, but if the rumors are true, then the ball is now in Hoffman’s court.
Update: And it seems Hoffman is taking the ball and dunking it. Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that Hoffman will be returning for Little Fockers, albeit in limited capacity. The actor will be in four scenes, and will appear alongside his onscreen wife Barbara Streisand for some of them. The scenes were shot during a week of "additional photography" and the EW's source claims Hoffman offered to do it after he saw the movie and wanted to be a part of it - whether that's because it was good, or he wanted to help improve it, we don't know.
It's also being floated that Hoffman's reason for initially declining to be in Little Fockers had nothing to do with money. If that's true, a poor script or scheduling conflicts are the likely suspects - either way, we will be getting a Little Fockers with Dustin Hoffman, and I don't think anybody will be too upset about that.
The Meet the Parents franchise has been big money for Universal since the first film was released in 2000. That film grossed $330 million, while it's sequel banked $516 million. While there are many who disregard the second film, I quite like it, mainly because Hoffman's character, Bernie Focker, reminds me of my own father. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not - but hey, nobody is perfect!
Will Hoffman join Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Jessica Alba in the film? At this point it’s pure speculation. However, Screen Rant will keep you posted on this Little Fockers news.
Update Source: Entertainment Weekly