Actor Dustin Hoffman was interviewed by ComingSoon.net about his role in Stranger than Fiction, and spoke briefly about Mr. Magorium.
CS: Talk about playing toy store owner in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.”
Hoffman: Well, the guy who wrote “Stranger Than Fiction” is named Zach Helm, and he wrote “Mr. Magorium” and he directed it, the first thing he ever directed. After I did “Stranger,” we had lunch or something and asked me if I wanted to play the part. And we talked about how we would approach it and how he would approach the film, because it’s something fantastical. [It] takes place in a magical toy store, and this guy that I play runs it, Mr. Magorium, and is 243 years old. So we had to make the decision are you going to do prosthetics, not prosthetics, are you going to find a way in, in which the audience will accept when I say I’m 243 years old. Hopefully and it has to come out of the character thing, I think he’s really a first-rate talent Mr. Helm. I didn’t use makeup, I had a certain hairstyle, nice hairstyle, eccentric hairstyle, eccentric clothing, kind of a way-out character that will work or you know had a good run of my career (laughter).
CS: How was it working with so many kids in movie?
Hoffman:There’s kids in it because it’s in a toy store. I love kids. I just love working with them. It started with “Kramer vs. Kramer” and very early on in that movie we found out it’s better to improvise with the kids to give them a sense of what the scene is about because otherwise their parents are going to line-read them and they’re going to come in every day having learned the lines from one of the parents and they’re going to sound like what every kid used to sound like on television. Well Dad!