Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
UPDATE: The LA Times talked to Universal chairman Adam Fogelson, who said the film is testing well and added, “As we’re continuing to refine the film, one of the ideas that’s certainly a possibility is having Dustin be a part of the picture. We didn’t call him and say that we desperately need his help or anything like that. But there is one path that we’re pursuing that could include his involvement.” Take that as rumor control or damage control, as you will.
I’m shocked — shocked! — that Little Fockers isn’t testing well. The first trailer for the film left me with little doubt that the would be exactly what you’d expect out of a threequel to Meet the Parents: broad, mildly awkward comedy with a few family-approved sexual and scatological tee-hees. Gurgle.
Earlier this week there was a report that a week’s worth of pick-up shots were in order, to give the film a little more zing. Now another source says that the film might undergo more dramatic reconstructive surgery, including (if possible) an injection of Dustin Hoffman.
Deadline originally reported the possible pick-ups, which, superficially, aren’t so remarkable. Films have to do little shots all the time to cover gaps in timing and aid transitions that were unforeseen when shooting. A week seems like a lot, however, and suspicious note number one is that Deadline reported the entire cast would be brought in for the pick-ups. The site also said that Universal contemplated replacing director Paul Weitz with producer John Hamburg. Uh-oh. (The possibility of a Director’s Guild shitstorm reportedly sank that idea.)
Now Vulture goes deeper, reporting that the studio is talking to Dustin Hoffman to see if he might come in to quickly reprise his role from Meet the Fockers.
Pick-ups and reshoots are a typical, budgeted part of production. They’re a cheap fix. No big deal. But bringing in an actor to play a role that wasn’t originally in the film is a very expensive fix. Especially when that actor is Dustin Hoffman. Also factor in the rewrite to fit him into the film. Which means, if this report is correct, that Little Fockers is a lot worse off than the trailer had suggested.
Besides the expense, there’s the issue of Hoffman’s involvement in the David Milch and Michael Mann HBO series Luck, which could make scheduling difficult.