Dustin Hoffman has won Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards on two separate occasions, once for 'Kramer vs Kramer' and once for 'Rain Man.' The legendary actor is renowned for his roles in 'Tootsie,' 'Wag the Dog' and other Hollywood box office hits... but what's on his mind of late is the cancellation of his 2012 HBO series 'Luck.'
'Luck' was a drama about the world of professional horse racing which starred Hoffman, Dennis Farina ('Get Shorty,' 'Snatch'), and Nick Nolte ('The Good Thief,' 'The Thin Red Line'). The series was critically acclaimed for its in-depth look at every feature of horse racing and the art of handicapping (wherein experts determine odds of each horse's performances). Debuting a little over a year ago, 'Luck' was almost immediately renewed for a second season--that is, until accidents on set drew the attention and ire of TMZ and PETA. The series was subsequently pulled after a mere ten episodes.
While promoting his upcoming film 'Quartet,' Hoffman was asked his feelings on the 'Luck' situation.
"My son and I had just finished a scene, we went to have lunch, and we got a phone call during lunch that HBO cancelled us. I thought it meant we were not going for a third season. They said, ‘No, now.’ We didn’t even go back to work that day. Crew people had moved their families from other parts of the country," said Hoffman. The actor continued to explain that he believes the cancellation of 'Luck' to be a "collaboration between PETA and TMZ," rather than a decision by HBO executives. Hoffman then cited a news article on the site Paulick Report which explored PETA's involvement in 'Luck's cancellation (originally posted two days after news broke that the series wouldn't be returning). The article accuses PETA members of lying and embellishing the truth regarding the sad deaths of three race horses over the course of 'Luck's production.
"Anyone who raises horses know they break their legs,” Hoffman continued. “The accusations they made were distorted. Every time we’d race the horses we’d rest them. They’d race 20 seconds, then we’d rest them for an hour. I think they (PETA) were looking to get contributions. Somebody ought to do a movie about them."
Entertainment Weekly asked PETA for a response: "Dustin Hoffman must have a really cold streak running through his heart, as he isn’t hesitant to disrespect whistleblowers and animals to advance his agenda. PETA wrote to him on two separate occasions urging him to use his position to help improve welfare conditions for the horses on the set of Luck after we were contacted by a dozen whistleblowers who were part of his production. Had he taken PETA’s warnings seriously instead of ignoring them, the life of the third horse could have been spared, the show might still be on the air, and his crew might still have their jobs."
When asked for comment, TMZ merely stated that they stand by their reporting, although they do not dispute the facts of the Paulick Report article.
Regardless of what side of this controversy you are on, no one is glad that three animals tragically lost their lives.