Twenty years ago, Dustin Hoffman starred in an off-beat comedy in which his somewhat seedy character became an accidental hero. Now, he has done it for real.
In the 1992 comedy Accidental Hero, Hoffman's character Bernie LaPlante is a small time crook who stumbles onto a plane crash, rescues - among others - the heroine of the story - then disappears into the night.
There was nothing funny about Hoffman's latest performance, in London's Hyde Park, and staying out of the limelight was not an option, because the victim was close to death. Hoffman, a sprightly 74, has a home in London, and was walking in Hyde Park when he saw someone apparently collapse. It turned out to be a man nearly a third of his age, Sam Dempster, who was out running. Instead of walking on and minding his own business, as some people would have done, Hoffman dialed 999 and stayed with the victim until paramedics arrive. The 27 year old had suffered a heart attack as the price of keeping fit.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a forthcoming Ben Stiller comedy has been renamed from Neighbourhood Watch to simply The Watch, according to Yahoo News, UK. No guys, that is not how the Yanks spell neighbourhood. That tiny error may be passable, but the other one could be expensive, because apparently the film has been renamed “to avoid being linked with the murder of an unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.”
Oops! Admittedly, the legal authorities in Florida appear to have handled this case very badly, and there has been both reckless talk and smears on both sides, but now that George Zimmerman is facing (extremely serious) criminal charges, it is grossly improper for anyone to prejudice any forthcoming trial. In Britain, things are done differently, as the Chris Jefferies case shows. Doubtless Yahoo's lawyers will rewrite the offending page soon.