How to live more a more eco-friendly life? "Don't drink anything, don't eat anything," jokes Dustin Hoffman, who comes to TV this week in the HBO drama "Luck." Created by writer David Milch ("Deadwood"), the series casts Hoffman as Chester "Ace" Bernstein, an ex-con and gambler turned horse owner in the series about the thoroughbred racing world. "He tells the truth and yet he's very intimidating, and in the world that he lives in, telling the truth is the last thing they're going to believe," Hoffman, also a producer on the series, says about Bernstein. He admits he doesn't know that much about the character or where he's going, "and neither does anyone else, so you're learning as you go."

Hoffman didn't know much about horse racing before either, other than what his wife had related to him about a childhood spent at the track with her father, helping him make bets. "She wants no part of this," he says, noting that the slicked-back hairstyle — which channeled his own late father — the clothing, and scripts all helped him get into character. "With David's words you're altered immediately," he says. He also doesn't find it unusual that he's doing a TV series for HBO. "The secret is out," he says. "You can do your best work for this company."

"Luck," which had a sneak preview in December, gets its official launch Jan. 29.

Dustin Hoffman's green quip
Movie icon Dustin Hoffman stars in HBO's new horse racing drama 'Luck.'