The “Last Chance Harvey” screening at the Arclight wasn’t a gathering of actors talking about their craft as much as a reunion between friends Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, who first worked together in the 2006 “Stranger Than Fiction.”
“We were sad when ‘Stranger’ was over and we only had those two scenes,” Hoffman said. “We thought there would be a more for us to do. We said good-bye in Chicago with a hope that we would work together again.”
Said Thompson, “All profound relationships begin as conversations that go on and on. With ‘Harvey,’ we were able to continue the conversation that began in ‘Stranger Than Fiction.'”
Writer-director Joel Hopkins said he wrote the first draft of “Last Chance Harvey” with the two in mind. “I saw them in ‘Stranger’ and thought ‘Wow.’ I wanted to see more,” he said. “I thought they were underused in that movie.”
However, that didn’t mean Hoffman wouldn’t have anything to say about the script. “Control freak,” joked Thompson. “The notion of Dustin not having influence over something written for him makes me laugh.”
Hoffman defended himself: “Joel didn’t know me. I though there was something I could add. He met Emma before. He got the essence of Emma. So I wanted him to get the essence of me. In the first draft, he had me as a door-to-door salesman of commemorative plates.
“We had an agreement that the three of us would forget that these were characters and not force a scene to happen,” said Hoffman. “For Joel, it was more frightening than it was for us.”
Said Thompson, “The film is about movements of the soul. It’s very difficult to put that on the screen. It’s like trying to take a cob web off a tree without putting a hole in it or being attacked by an irate spider.”