Dustin Hoffman’s Directorial Debut to Star Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly

Dustin Hoffman
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Sheridan Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins also have roles in "Quartet," which begins shooting in the U.K. this week.

LONDON – Oscar winner Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins are all singing from Dustin Hoffman’s song sheet for his U.K. set directorial debut Quartet.

Hoffman’s cast, looking like a who’s who of British talent, also includes Sheridan Smith and Michael Gambon and is set to shoot for nine weeks, beginning this week.

BBC Films and DCM Productions are backing a Headline Pictures and Finola Dwyer Productions movie in association with Decca and sales and finance label HanWay Films.

Based on Ronald Harwood’s stage play of the same name, Quartet is billed as a film about redefining old age and growing old with hope.

It tells the tale of a group of old folks who live in a home for retired opera singers. Every year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents unite to give a concert to raise funds for their home. A new resident comes in and upsets the balance as old rivalry’s appear.

Hoffman’s film is produced by Finola Dwyer and Stewart Mackinnon.

Quartet is bankrolled by BBC Films, DCM Productions and Decca.

Executive producers are Jamie Laurenson (BBC Films), Dario Suter, Christoph Daniel and Marc Schmidheiny (all from DCM), Dickon Stainer (Decca), Xavier Marchand (Momentum) and Hoffman.

HanWay is handling international sales.

Deals inked already include Momentum for the U.K., Transmission for Australia / NZ, Delphi for Germany, Lusomundo for Portugal, A Film for Benelux, Vertice for Spain, Odeon in Greece, Elite Film AG in Switzerland, MG Film in former Yugoslavia, Front Row in the Middle East, Ster-Kinekor in South Africa and Atom Cinema in Taiwan.