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Hoffman & Tomlin, On 'Huckabees'

Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are two of the most acclaimed performers of our time.

Between them, they have seven Emmys, two Oscars, two Tonys and a Grammy Award. Now, these two powerhouses team up for the first time to play very unique detectives in the new film "I Heart Huckabees."

They discussed their roles with The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

The movie can be described as a comedy about -- what it's all about!

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Convinced that a series of coincidences involving a doorman hold some secret to life's largest riddles, Albert Markovski (played by Jason Schwartzman) seeks the help of a detective agency unlike any other -- which leads him down a path that questions the essence of existence itself.

In an attempt to ferret out the meaning of these flukes, he consults Bernard and Vivian Jaffe (Hoffman and Tomlin), existential detectives, a pair of married metaphysicians who fearlessly investigate the mysteries at the core of their clients' secret innermost lives.

When on a case, these two follow their clients around closely, observe their daily activities, query their friends and employers and intently examine the lives they lead.

Existential detectives seek the solutions to the most persistent mystery of all -- the one that lies at the core of reality and existence itself -- which means their investigations can get a little tricky.

Hoffman tells Smith the idea of existential detectives makes sense: "The amount of people on Prozac, let's say, in this country, they say you can tell by the pharmaceutical numbers that it's higher than people admit, or valium, plus the number of people in therapy, you know? If you combine that, the idea that before you can help someone with their neurosis or with their depression or whatever, you have to analyze what life means to them.

"And that's what an exessential detective is. In other words, if we had our druthers, wouldn't you love to have someone following you around and interpreting how you respond to (your unique life)?"

Tomlin observes that the existential detectives in the movie believe life does, in fact, have meaning "and that it's benign and collective and connected and worth pursuing. And worth living and enjoying and being in."

Some Facts About Lily Tomlin

  • Born Mary Jean Tomlin in Detroit on September 1, 1939
  • Broke through in 1969 as a featured performer in "Laugh In." Her signature character was Ernestine the telephone operator
  • In 1975, earned an Academy Award nomination for her dramatic film debut in Robert Altman's "Nashville"
  • Film highlights include1977's Late Show, 1981's Incredible Shrinking Woman, and 1993's Short Cuts
  • In 1995, she narrated "The Celluloid Closet," a documentary about Hollywood's portrayal of gay and lesbian characters
  • Tomlin came out as a lesbian in the mainstream press in 2001, indicating she did not want to be anyone's poster child
  • She co-writes her material with longtime partner Jane Wagner
  • She is slated to appear in 2005 in "Confederacy of Dunces" and 2006 in "A Prairie Home Companion"

    Some Facts About Dustin Hoffman

  • Born Dustin Lee Hoffman in Los Angeles on August 8, 1937
  • As a struggling actor, roomed with Gene Hackman in New York
  • Hoffman grabbed national attention and an Oscar nomination in 1967's "The Graduate"
  • He won another Oscar nomination as a loser street hustler in "Midnight Cowboy"
  • He continued to play edgy roles in 1971's "Straw Dogs," 1974's "Lenny,"
  • More mainstream but successful efforts include 1976's "All The President's Men," 1979's "Kramer Vs Kramer," 1982's "Tootsie" and 1988's "Rainman"
  • Reputedly difficult to work with
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