Dustin Hoffman has accepted he is no longer likely to headline a major Hollywood film, because lead roles are rarely given to men over the age of 50.

Age has played an important part in 67-year-old Hoffman's distinguished career, beginning with his name-making performance in The Graduate, in which he played a character much younger than he was at the time.

Hoffman, whose starred alongside Jason Schwartzman, 24, in recent film I HEART HUCKABEES, says, "Once you get above 50, you're automatically supporting the lead who is in his twenties or thirties.

"My criteria had to change, because unless you're carrying a gun or unless you're Sean Connery or Harrison Ford, leading roles are not going to happen anymore."

And Hoffman was amazed he won the much sought-after part of college leaver BENJAMIN BRADDOCK in 1967's The Graduate, because he was a 30-year-old man.

He says, "Landing the leading role was like a freak accident. I was already 30 years old, playing a 21-year-old. When he (director Mike Nichols) screened the film before it opened, people said, 'Jeez, we had a good movie but you miscast the lead.'"

19/11/2004 17:57