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'Admission' star a graduate of the Dustin Hoffman school of acting

Nat Wolff won a contest for a free drama lesson from his “favorite actor in the world.”
BY DENNIS KING Modified: April 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm •  Published: April 3, 2013

It might not be instantly apparent as you're watching young actor Nat Wolff in the college-oriented comedy-drama “Admission,” but there's a touch of Dustin Hoffman (a la “The Graduate”) in the teen's studiously idiosyncratic performance.

“Admission” features Wolff (of TV's “The Naked Brothers Band”) as Jeremiah, an offbeat math and science prodigy vying for admission to Princeton. His co-stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd carry on a halting romance as they champion this quirky candidate's unorthodox application.

Director Paul Weitz said during press interviews hosted by Focus Features that when he cast Wolff he wasn't aware of the actor's illustrious parents (“thirtysomething” actress Polly Draper and jazz musician Michael Wolff) or his previous teen idol status on TV.

“I didn't know that Nat was a part of ‘The Naked Brothers.' He just did a lovely audition,” Weitz said. “He has a tiny touch of Dustin Hoffman in him. In fact, he told me when he was a kid he won a contest where he got to have an acting lesson with Dustin Hoffman for a few hours.”

The director said he was impressed by Wolff's deft, off-kilter touch as an actor and his quiet confidence in fleshing out Jeremiah's various eccentricities.

“That sort of underplaying can slip into a crutch sometimes, but I think Nat manages to avoid that,” Weitz said. “And also, that character can easily be someone who's dismissible as just an oddball. But I like the idea that in the midst of his strange intellectualism and his possibly being somewhere on the spectrum (of autism) that he manages to be appealing, as well.”

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