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RUNAWAY JURY

Hackman And Hoffman
Academy Award®-winning actors Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman have been the best of friends for 46 years, since they were students together at the Pasadena Playhouse in the late 1950s. Remarkably, RUNAWAY JURY represents their first motion picture collaboration.

When Hackman and his then-wife moved to New York, Hoffman followed several years later and initially stayed in their small apartment, sleeping in the kitchen next to the bathtub. Both were struggling New York actors, looking for work on stage and paying the bills with odd jobs. They both worked at Saks 34th Street, and at Howard Johnson's, where both ended up being fired. Hackman also worked for the Padded Wagon Moving Company, moving furniture from tenements that had no elevators, often carrying refrigerators on his back, and Hoffman worked as a toy demonstrator at Macy's.

At the time, neither actor could have envisioned being a leading man, much less a movie star. According to Hoffman, "at that time if the acting gods, or the devil, asked us to sign on the dotted line and you'd be in a resident theater in Ohio, not even off-Broadway, but you'd be a working actor for the rest of your life, we would have signed in a minute. What we wanted to do was work steadily as actors."

"It never occurred to me that I would ever do film work," adds Hackman, "because it was still the era of the studio system, when actors were under contract and studio chiefs wanted a specific leading man ‘look.' I think that was a plus for me because I felt I would never be in films and so I had to really work harder on stage. And because Dustin and I stayed in New York as long as we did that held us in good stead."

Times changed and after some highly praised theatre work, both Hackman and Hoffman were cast in their breakthrough roles, for Hackman "Bonnie and Clyde," for Hoffman, "The Graduate."

After the ensuing years of acclaimed performances in classic films that have made both actors icons, Hackman and Hoffman finally found themselves working together on RUNAWAY JURY. "We tried to collaborate a number of times before," says Hoffman, "but each time, for some reason, it didn't work out. It's just one of those unexplainable things."

To Hoffman what was really special about collaborating with Hackman after so many years of friendship was how little had changed between them over the years. "After all this time, the most moving aspect of working together was that we really didn't feel in any way differently than when we first met. We still have a tenacity of trying to be authentic and at the same time we still have an insecurity that has remained constant all these years. And I'm not sure that insecurity is a bad thing to have."

Hackman agrees: "It's absolutely a good thing because it keeps you alive. In a strange way you're never secure. You're always on edge."

"That was the revelatory thing," adds Hoffman, "I don't think we were doing anything differently than 46 years ago when we were in our first acting class together. We arrived on the set as frightened as when we arrived to do our first scene back then."

Hackman and Hoffman are fans of each other's work. "There are two sides to Gene Hackman," says Hoffman. "He's always had the ability to be extremely honest and natural in his work. He's intelligent and has a wonderful sense of humor that he can inco

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