Hoffman said Tuesday he was approached by his friend, director Tom Tykwer — best known for his 1998 film "Run Lola Run (search)" — and immediately agreed to the part of the perfumer, Baldini. The actor said he had read Patrick Suskind's book shortly after it came out some 20 years ago.
"At that time, it was one of the books that you had to have read," Hoffman said.
The film is being shot entirely in English in a Munich studio. It is scheduled to appear in cinemas in autumn 2006.
German producer Bernd Eichinger said he tried for years to get the film rights to the story of Jean-Baptise Grenouille, who experiences life in 18th century Paris entirely through smells.
British actor Ben Wishaw (search) plays Grenouille, who shows up Baldini by effortlessly making complex perfumes that lead him on a strange and relentless criminal quest.
Hoffman said he liked the idea that humans "have more senses than we realize," noting that his favorite smell is that of small babies.
"I'm fascinated how babies' heads and necks always smell the same, although we all have different scents," Hoffman said.