Child actor Gaby Hoffman sounds off on directors, costars, and Madonna

NEW YORK—Gaby Hoffman is only 10 years old, but she has a lot to say. In a recent interview with Hoffman, who plays Julie Kavner’s youngest daughter in Nora Ephron’s This Is My Life, the actor expounded on a number of subjects, including life with her mother, Viva, who starred in several of Andy Warhol’s underground movies. Her father is daytime drama actor Anthony Herrerra. She co-starred in two other films prior to This Is My Life: Phil Alden Robinson’s Field of Dreams, in which she played Kevin Costner’s daughter; and John Hughes’s Uncle Buck, starring John Candy, in which she played the sister of Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin.

On her directors:

Robinson had to bribe me, because there was no way I was going to do anything for him any other way. He didn’t know anything about children. I don’t know if I could have made the movie if it hadn’t been for Kevin. He was really nice and supportive, but Robinson was awful to me. And John Hughes was just as bad. He acted as though I didn’t exist. He focused on John Candy and Macaulay. All my experiences working with male directors were horrible. It was so much better working with Nora. I was really excited about working with women. This was like working with a family. It’s such a good movie. Uncle Buck was pathetic.

On Macaulay Culkin:

He is the worst brat. Mac is really competitive. He used to say things like, “I’m older than you; I’m smarter than you.” I haven’t talked to him since then. I can’t see him as an adult actor, because he can’t act. He played himself in Home Alone, but when he tried to act in My Girl, he was awful. He has to be himself to be any good. I can’t understand why people like Home Alone. It was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

On New York’s famous Chelsea Hotel, where she has lived since she was a baby:

Someone shot our door out two days ago. My next door neighbour got raped. We decided it was time to leave, so we’re getting out of there next month. Actually, we got evicted. But I think it’s time to move to a place that is less exciting. I think we should move to the Rockies.

On meeting Madonna:

She was in our hotel the other day visiting someone and she was wearing a fur coat. She’s supposed to be against the killing of animals for furs, so I went up to her and said, “I thought you were against that kind of thing, Madonna.” So, she turned to her bodyguard and said: “The little girl thinks I’m against that kind of thing, arrgghh,” and laughed at me. She’s so obnoxious. I hate her.

On her mother’s side of the family:

All my cousins steal things. They’re just a bunch of thieves. My whole family is like that. You put something down for a second and they steal it. You never see it again.

On her father:

He left when I was a baby and came back when I was five. But I haven’t seen him for a year. He came to get me a year ago and I held onto the bed and screamed so loud that the police finally came to the hotel. I absolutely hate that man.



SYDaisy Alyosha

Oct 19, 2013 at 3:48am

Now,there were children born the day that this interview was published who today are old enough to drink in bars~many of them even have children of their own.Gaby Hoffman is 31 years old,& a LOT can happen to a person in two decades.The two decades between ten and thirty perhaps most of all.

THAT said,at least in my experience, the essential spirit of a person does not change~circumstances might dictate that a person ends up living one way or another.But the people I knew when we were both ten,barring some disaster that prevented them from being able to play to their individual strengths,have more or less turned out,in hindsight, to be exactly how their personality and character as a child of ten would have predicted.

Gaby Hoffman was clearly a super bright kid who was exposed to a great many intellectually gifted,creatively talented, eccentric,& sometimes famous people from birth to the time of this interview.But one does not get the feeling from anything she says that she is merely `apeing' the adult conversation around her.She was opinionated,that's for sure.But her opinions carry a vibe of being wholly her own.

Naturally those opinions passed through the filter of having been raised by and in close proximity to folks of an extremely Bohemian,intellectually engaged,artistic,opinionated (& gossipy!)people.And in the mind of a ten-year-old,the aspect of `show business' wherein people say ONE thing among themselves,only to be quoted in an article or shown on TV saying something ENTIRELY opposite(as in:TOTAL grinning insincerity,NEVER,EVER saying anything but Wonderful Things about those people you've worked with)seems REPREHENSIBLE in it's hypocrisy.

Because,of course,it IS.THAT is the thing that gets lost in most people between 10&30~kids have a BS radar more sensitive than anyone.And it is refreshing to read that this instinct~to speak the truth,call a Jerk a Jerk~had not ALREADY been supressed in Ms.Hoffman by the age of 10,as it is in most kids.

Of course,there ARE consequences to that type of honesty,&a parent would be negligent to encourage the one without schooling the kid about the other.

I've read that Gaby Hoffman has,as an adult,lived a well-rounded life,including acting but not enslaved to it for an identity.She is educated,her work has been diverse,and being honest does not seem to have held her back.
To read this was a true gift.


Oct 25, 2013 at 10:27pm

Well, I think she sounds like a real snot.


Jan 19, 2014 at 9:45pm

She certainly was a malcontent at age 10. She seemed to hate everything and everyone she was asked about in the interview. Sad. In a recent article (2013) she claimed to be practically broke ($4k in the bank). I wonder what happened yo all the money she made as a kid? You'd think it would have been enough to make a nice nest egg for her.