Meryl Streep has decided to release a statement on the unauthorized biography, Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, which is published by Vanity Fair. The unauthorized biography details one of the few shocking events that the actress experienced with co-star Dustin Hoffman on the set of Kramer vs Kramer.
In a statement, Meryl Streep’s representative told Gossip Cop, “Ms. Streep has no comment on this book. It was unauthorized. She made no contribution to it, nor has she read it.”
The author, Michael Schulman, details the process of making Kramer vs. Kramer, specifically one time when Hoffman slapped Meryl Streep while filming a pivotal scene.
The author goes on to write about the shocking risks Hoffman took while “method acting.” An excerpt from the unauthorized Meryl Streep book reads the following.
“On the second day, they continued shooting the opening scene, when Ted [Hoffman] follows the hysterical Joanna [Streep] into the hallway. They shot the bulk of it in the morning and, after lunch, set up for some reaction shots.”
In the book, he continues.
“Dustin and Meryl took their positions on the other side of the apartment door. Then something happened that shocked not just Meryl but everyone on set. Right before their entrance, Dustin slapped her hard across the cheek, leaving a red mark.”
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) March 29, 2016
In another instance, Kramer vs Kramer producer Richard Fischoff described Hoffman as “goading and provoking” Streep throughout the process. He even mentions that Hoffman brought up the death of her former boyfriend, John Cazale, to create drama that he thought was needed for the scene.
“[Hoffman was] using stuff that he knew about her personal life and about John to get the response that he thought she should be giving in the performance.”
The less damaging claims detailed the casting process. According to the author, Meryl Streep wasn’t the first choice to play Joanna Kramer. Instead, Charlie’s Angels star Kate Jackson, was set for the role, but the timing was an issue and producer Aaron Spelling wouldn’t let her out of her Charlie’s Angel’s schedule to shoot.
Right from the get go, the author says there were communication problems. Streep, who was hitting a snag in her personal life, having lost her boyfriend to cancer, was looking for a meaty role and came in to read for the part of Joanna. That said, when she went in to talk about Joanna, both Hoffman and the director thought she was reading for the role of Phyllis, a much smaller part.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 29, 2016
That said, both the director and Hoffman were surprised with the notes that Streep took on her character she wanted to go out for.
According to director Robert Benton, Streep and Hoffman’s relationship was tarnished, and they were at such odds during the process that the director was convinced that the film would flop.
As we know, Kramer vs Kramer was wildly successful and earned Streep her first Oscar win, and her second nomination. The film also went on to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
Whatever Hoffman and Streep felt towards each other was never publicly discussed by either actor, but back in 2012, Hoffman said that during the filming, he was “depleted.” The actor told the Hollywood Reporter, “I was getting divorced, I’d been partying with drugs and it depleted me in every way.”
He went on to say that he initially didn’t want to meet with the director or the producer because he didn’t like the script. Discussing the utter turmoil he was in before shooting, Hoffman explained, “You’re script has no feeling of what I’m going through. For whatever reasons you just end up not being able to inhabit the same space.”
[Photo by Columbia Pictures]