Dustin Hoffman Is On A Mission Of Scientific Awesomeness

Illustration for article titled Dustin Hoffman Is On A Mission Of Scientific Awesomeness

Dustin Hoffman is so concerned about getting better science in science-fiction movies, he's helping to sponsor a "dating service" to match movie directors with real scientists. But will he play a violin at their table-side?

Hoffman, whose science fiction movies include Sphere and Outbreak, has told friends that he's tired of the "silliness" of most films in the genre. He thinks movies can have an entertaining plot and present real science at the same time, according to an anonymous Friend Of Dustin quoted in the Australian newspaper.

An associate said: "Dustin thinks you can make entertaining movies which also get a message across without slowing down the action. He enjoys comic book blockbusters but if they go over the top and don't care about getting it right, why should the audience care?"


Hoffman, who was a chemist at the Maxwell House coffee company before he became a movie star, has teamed up with a group called the Science And Entertainment Exchange, which aims to play matchmaker between scientists and film-makers. Weirdly enough, the Exchange, which is affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences, was founded by Naked Gun director Jerry Zucker, Hoffman's neighbor. (Besides Hoffman and Zucker, the Exchange's officers include Gregory Benford, Lawrence Kasdan, Rob Reiner and Craig Venter.)

Will the group actually help to increase the accuracy of science in most movies? Probably not, but if it leads to even one or two more films that are actually focussed on real science, that would be a major boon. [The Australian]

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Well, as one of the first scientists who was asked to help out as part of the National Academies Science and Entertainment Exchange (for Watchmen) - I can vouch for the good intentions of those involved. Rather than bring scientists in at the very end, the thinking is to get them involved early on. We can help in small and big ways - all in service of a better film. If the audience is not thinking about the bogus science or technology - they will be engaged in the story, which is what we paid our ten dollars for anyway.

Oh, and another supporter of this program - Seth MacFarlane. Victory shall be ours!