hoffman-tootsie

DUSTIN HOFFMAN BREAKS DOWN OVER TOOTSIE

How would you be different if you had been born a woman?

In this enlightening clip from the AFI archives, actor Dustin Hoffan shares how the idea behind his film Tootsie evolved, and more interestingly, what compelled him to play the role of Dorothy Michaels.

Revealing a side of himself we’ve perhaps never seen before, Hoffan explains how, make-up and all, he had to dress as a woman before agreeing to play the character.

And what he discovered about women moved him.

“I was shocked that I wasn’t more attractive. I thought I should be beautiful. If I was going to be a woman, I would want to be as beautiful as possible.”

Take a look.

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19 Comments

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    K.bites

    “Tootsie” was about the only mainstream feminist film to come out of the eighties. It was about a feisty yet “dowdy” middle aged woman who demanded to be treated with respect. And the lead was played by a man! Human society is weird, fascinating and frustrating.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    Morag

    I love Dustin Hoffman and I loved Tootsie – a great movie.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    Jacqui

    Yes, our culture has us tricked into valuing those things that are not all that valuable. We all need a bit of a reality check sometimes. What a touching insight into Dustin Hoffman’s moment.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    M

    I guess it’s painful to know you have been an asshole objectifying women for years or is he just feeling sorry for himself because he missed out because of his own stupidity?

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    Annie Also

    There is nothing more powerful than a feminist man.
    My husband is one.
    When we started living together in the early ’70′s in Sydney ( oohh tsk tsk days) he would stop and chat to elderly women at crossings and help then to walk safely across roads. I said to him; Why do you do that? He said; All women fascinate me…and the elderly woman always is easy to please and I am delighted to meet.
    It is not until I reached my 60th year that I appreciate this man more now than ever. I know for a fact because of all those years ago when he was 20 years of age, he liked women no matter their age…that I now feel confident that he still finds me interesting.
    Thank you my man..thank you Dustin Hoffman for showing what a real man is.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    K.bites

    @ Annie Also, my point was that with all the great actresses in the eighties dying for decent role that was more then a supportive partner or token sidekick, a role that portrayed a woman as a complex and multi-dimensional individual- that role was portrayed by a man. It was like the only feminist palatable to a mainstream audience (or the men who write, direct and produce movies) was a man. Really interesting.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    Rhoda

    He remark is telling – that he felt the need to be beautiful. Our figure, makeup, clothes advertise who we are and what we’re about but DH was a man and in the film he was asserting himself, not as a woman, but as a man disguised as one. The ‘attitude’ was all male and underlined the connection between a woman’s physical appearance and her essential self. I defy anyone to tell me they weren’t put off by ‘her’ appearance.

    We were admiring male attitude.

    • Reply July 10, 2013

      ziggy

      We certainly were admiring male attitude, Rhoda. I agree with everything you say. I did find it a brilliant, strangely touching movie though.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    K.bites

    @ Rhoda, I think the film was great because it underlined the disconnection between a woman’s constructed appearance and a person’s essential self. Shame it needed a man for the audience to get that message.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    Rhoda

    K.bites, understand that viewpoint but for me the focus was all on Tootsie, everyone’s sweetheart, as the name implies.

    Every female in that film was a stereotype. Not once did the audience imagine Tootsie was anything but a male in disguise. He was talking as a male about and for women and we recognized the voice as male. It would have sailed over our heads otherwise.

    And to me that’s the point. No one is really interested in what a woman has to say. Takes a man to say it.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    K.bites

    Rhoda, Well said.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    ro.watson

    I bet Merryl Streep could have done a better job playing a woman, playing a man playing a woman?

    • Reply July 12, 2013

      lydia

      We had a woman playing a man playing a woman, didn’t we? What was the plot of that Julie Andrews film – Victor/Victoria? Wasn’t it that she was a struggling actress who impersonated a female impersonator? (Think about it…)

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    carolyn

    A defining moment for Dustin. This movie was made many years ago….. but have males learned from it?… or females for that matter? We STILL focus on the physical attributes of women especially, and although some inroads have been pursued by jour5nalists and writers in general, it’s STILL there.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    shell

    Only Dustin could have played the character in Tootsie, Dorothy. The insight he displays here helps load the character with nuance and spirit even though we, the audience, know he is a man. Dorothy ‘gets away with it’ because Dustin makes her real, even though when they go for the closeup it must be ‘not too close’. So real that the father of the bird he is chasing falls for him.
    People, this is acting in a film, it is not a documentary. Also have a look at ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ and also ‘Albert Nobbs’, where Glenn Close dresses as a man.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    Kirsten

    M- why so harsh, perhaps the other perspective is that he was being open and honest about the ignorance men of that era were raised with. Maybe he realised what a terrible loss that he had let opportunities to meet wonderful people – women pass him by because of his life experiences to that time. The movie was fun and quietly delivered some strong messages – to men, by a man that women have value.

  • Reply July 11, 2013

    Jo

    All the short, big-nosed men that I never got to be fascinated by when I was a twenty something… We all buy and sell the beauty myth, let’s not be stupid here, it is hard wired. Humans have just out paced their chemical evolution for a bit. Brains will always be sexy, but being dumb and pretty can get you to a lot of the same parties. I’m glad Dusty shared his passion and insight.

  • Reply July 11, 2013

    Yane

    I do enjoy this interview but one of the main messages I got from Tootsie when I saw it many years ago was that the woman he fell in love with was very pretty (played by Jessica Lange) & his best friend/current girlfriend was not as pretty & so, to be loved, you had to be the pretty.

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