By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 21, 2004 01:00 PM

In what will clearly be a yet another kick in the pants to “Father Knows Best,” Dustin Hoffman has been cast to play Ben Stiller’s dad in the forthcoming “Meet the Fockers,” the sequel to the 2000 comedy hit “Meet the Parents,” says the Hollywood Reporter.

For the record, Stiller’s real father is Jerry Stiller, 75, who played George Constanza’s father, Frank, on “Seinfeld” and now plays Kevin James’s father-in-law, Arthur Spooner, on “King of Queens.” Ben’s mother is Anne Meara, who plays the mother of Steve Brady (David Eigenberg) on “Sex and the City.” Confused enough yet?

Either way, the casting news sets up an all-star ensemble for the sequel: Hoffman will meet up onscreen with Robert De Niro, who played Stiller’s prospective father-in-law in the original and will return for the sequel, alongside original stars Teri Polo and Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow’s real-life mom).

“Meet the Fockers” is once again being directed by Jay Roach and produced by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Roach, and will center around Greg Focker (Stiller) and his fiancee, Pam Byrnes (Polo), thinking that everything is fine between him and his uptight future in-laws (De Niro and Danner).

But that’s before the Byrneses meet the Fockers.

This isn’t the first time Hoffman, 66, has teamed up with De Niro, 60. The two starred in the memorable 1997 political satire “Wag the Dog.”

The role of Mrs. Focker has yet to be cast, though there are rumors — completely unconfirmed — that the role has been offered to Barbra Streisand.

So that’s where Greg could get his musical ability.

The sequel is due in theaters by this Christmas, so shooting on the “Fockers” is due to begin at the end of March, after De Niro reportedly finishes his next project, the thriller “Hide and Seek,” which costars Famke Janssen — who doesn’t have famous parents but whose sisters, Antoinette Beumer and Marjolein Beumer, are a director and actress, respectively.