and a chorus of “booty callers.” For eight days, “Soup” host John Henson had been holding a mock hunger strike to convince Oscar nominee and personal acting fave Hoffman to visit the show. Finally the actor caved, thanks to his children.
“Dustin came in and said, ‘The only reason I’m here is because of my kids,'” says Henson. “His kids kept going, ‘Dad, you’ve gotta go on. Everybody in school is talking about it.’ I like those children — they’re smart.”
In the improvised segment, Hoffman barged in on a hospitalized Henson and had his lawyer, played by Jon Lovitz, serve the bed-ridden host a restraining order. (It was Hoffman’s idea to bring along his friend, Lovitz.) Hoffman later displayed his little-known schticky side by parodying his “Rain Man” character; vamping as Mrs. Robinson; and placing a defibrillator on his groin to turn himself on. (Clips of the segment can be found on “Talk Soup”‘s website.)
During the taping, Hoffman demonstrated his well-known perfectionism. It took the actors three hours to finish the six-minute segment — a big change from the typical “Talk Soup” approach. “We usually do one take,” says Henson, “and unless someone swears, we keep it.”
Henson says he would have played along with any of his idol’s requests: “If Dustin said his idea was to have me naked and slathered in canola oil, I would have said, ‘Okay, sounds good to me.’ You’re talking to Ratzo Rizzo, man. You do what he says.” In fact, Hoffman was in control of the entire staff even after he left. “Everybody looked like they just had sex,” Henson says. “They all had that faraway smile on their faces.”