"Capote" actor a reluctant star in directing debut

Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:04am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Philip Seymour Hoffman was bedeviled by his leading man when the actor made his film directing debut with the new comedy-drama "Jack Goes Boating."

A crucial bedroom scene involving the film's title character involved multiple takes as the big star struggled to get into character and eventually walked off the set.

The leading man, of course, was Hoffman, and the 43-year-old Oscar-winner for "Capote" vowed on Monday never to cast himself again if he directs another movie.

Not that he wanted to play Jack anyway. Hoffman originated the role of the romantically challenged New York limo driver in playwright Bob Glaudini's 2007 Off Broadway staging. Moreover, Hoffman's LAByrinth theater troupe produced the play.

But when Hoffman decided to direct a big-screen version, at the suggestion of the play's co-star John Ortiz, he was adamant about finding a new headliner.

"We found someone pretty wonderful that would have been pretty amazing and he wanted to do it," Hoffman said at a post-screening Q&A session, declining to identify him.

But the actor was not available last winter, a season that was crucial to the storyline. Since it was not practical to postpone shooting by a year, Hoffman found himself on both sides of the camera.

Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega reprised their roles as a couple whose marriage is fraying, and Amy Ryan joined the lineup as Jack's equally awkward love interest, Connie. The movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, opens in limited release on Friday via Liberty Media Corp's Overture Films.

The action follows the couple's attempts to set up Jack and Connie. Jack prepares for the big courtship by learning to swim so that he won't drown if he falls overboard when the couple go boating in the summer. He also learns to cook.   Continued...

<p>Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman poses on the red carpet before the premiere of his new movie "Radio Rock Revolution" in Berlin April 7, 2009. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>