A-lister Hoffman head hunts Smith for director’s debut

Dustin Hoffman, director of the film "Quartet".
Dustin Hoffman, director of the film "Quartet".

A HOLLYWOOD great has praised Epworth’s own actress Sheridan Smith after he head hunted to star in his new film.

Dustin Hoffman has revealed he had to have Sheridan Smith in his new film - after she made him weep when he saw her in a performance in the West End.

The double Oscar winner enlisted the Mrs Biggs actress for his directorial debut Quartet, which also stars Dame Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly and Sir Tom Courtenay, after she grabbed his attention in the play Flare Path.

He said: “My wife and I saw her in this play and I just broke down after seeing it, she took me by surprise.

“I couldn’t stop crying and we went backstage and we met her and that was before I knew I was going to do [Quartet].”

When Hoffman signed up to direct the film, about ageing opera singers in a retirement home, he got straight on the phone to Sheridan to ask her to play their doctor.

“I just called her immediately.

“But since I’ve asked her to be in this she’s won the Olivier Award, she’s right up there.

“She deserves to be next to Maggie Smith.”

Sheridan has in turn returned the compliment to the 75 year-old veteran actor, taking to Twitter to sing his praises.

On the microblogging site she also posted: “Just had a cast and crew screening of Quartet with the lovely Dustin Hoffman our director. It’s amazing, I cried like a baby. Took my daddy :)”

She also revealed through the site that she felt she had to curtsey every morning on set when coming up to work with such iconic acting figures.

Speaking of the chance to work with such experienced people she also said she felt like a sponge, trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible from them for her future roles.

It is the latest in a string of big roles landed by Sheridan, 31, who has received praise from critics for her recent title role in ITV drama Mrs Biggs.

The film will have it’s UK cinema release in January.