Collider, a movie news website, has just posted the first press junket attended by Niall Browne. It includes a fascinating look behind the scenes at Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, one of the best films of 2007. Here’s an excerpt:
Question: I’ve read that you came up with the character or Magorium, from a voice you use in a joke about an Ostrich. What was this?
Dustin Hoffman: I read it and said, I wanna play this part, but I don’t want to use a lot of makeup, so I tried to think, how was I going to sound at 243? The director, Zach Helm, we made the decision, that you can’t put prosthetics on. I’m not going to try and literally look like a zombie back from the dead. So if you can create a character that has an eccentricity about him, which you believe, he believes he’s 243, then we’ve done it. Then when we thought, what was I going to sound like? Nothing was coming to me, then my wife said, “if you’re going to do this movie, I’m going to read the script”, ’cause she won’t read it, if I’m not going to do it. She read it and said “I kept hearing the voice you use in the ostrich joke”. That surprised me, so I went into a room and started practicing and reading. You can write whatever answer you want, ’cause that’s a better story.
Question: What’s it like playing an old man?
Dustin Hoffman:I don’t know if you’ve all seen the movie, I’m sure that you all have different opinions about it, ’cause that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. The idea is that the child in us, the child, that was us, has diminished as we get older. The child is the most pure part of ourselves. It’s the most unadulterated. It is the individual that never existed before and presumably doesn’t exist now with 7 billion people. There ain’t no-one else like you, but you. That’s profound. The child is fully that. The more you fit in the more you are generic. The best way that I can put it is; I knew a painter, years ago, when my 36 year old was 3 or 4, he’s since passed on , he’s a very good abstract painter. I thought. He came into the house and saw a picture that Genna had done on the wall, and he saw it on passing as he walked and said “I can’t do that anymore”. I knew what he was talking about.