You can’t overstate how important The Graduate was for Dustin Hoffman’s career, but following his breakout role, Hoffman passed on film roles that were offered to him and went back to Broadway for a few years until Midnight Cowboy came along. This would become somewhat of a theme over the course of Hoffman’s career, with Hoffman saying “the list is endless” when it comes to all the hit movies he passed on.
I don’t know about “endless,” but there are certainly some big roles that he let slip through his fingers. The Rain Man star is celebrating his 78th birthday on Saturday, so there’s no better time than now to look back at some of the classic films that almost included Dustin Hoffman in the cast.
The Producers (1967)
Dustin Hoffman was signed on for The Producers to play Franz Liebkind and ready to belt out “Springtime for Hitler” — until he heard about The Graduate. Mel Brooks allowed Hoffman to go and audition for the part of Benjamin Braddock only because his wife, Anne Bancroft, would also be working on the movie. The writer/director thought Hoffman would be totally wrong for the part and be back on for The Producers the very next day. Man, was he ever wrong.