Dustin Hoffman And Meryl Streep: Why The Slap Wasn't The Worst Part Of The 'Kramer Vs. Kramer' Elevator Scene

Victoria Miller

Meryl Streep has been careful about what she says about Dustin Hoffman, her co-star on her first big movie, Kramer vs. Kramer. Amid growing sexual misconduct allegations against the 80-year-old actor, Meryl Streep has issued carefully worded statements when asked about him and she even offered a clarification on an interview she gave decades ago.

Now, in a new interview with the New York Times, Meryl Streep admits that Dustin Hoffman went off script and slapped her during the first take of their first scene together in Kramer vs. Kramer. Streep revealed that Hoffman "overstepped" when he smacked her during an argument scene set outside of an elevator in the 1979 Academy Award-winning film.

"This is tricky because when you're an actor, you're in a scene, you have to feel free," Meryl told the Times.

"I'm sure that I have inadvertently hurt people in physical scenes. But there's a certain amount of forgiveness in that. But this was my first movie, and it was my first take in my first movie, and he just slapped me. And you see it in the movie."

According to Vanity Fair, Dustin Hoffman engaged in some more disturbing method acting while filming the iconic opening scene with Meryl Streep.

According to People, a devoted Meryl Streep was by her beloved beau's side during his illness, accompanying him to grueling chemotherapy treatments and keeping a bedside vigil during his final days. When Cazale passed away on March 12, 1978, Meryl was so overcome with emotion that she collapsed into him and cried for him to wake up.

A few months later, Dustin Hoffman knew that Meryl was still grieving over the death of John Cazale and it was reportedly one of the reasons he wanted her for the part of Joanna Kramer — and why he used her grief as part of his method acting.

Of the elevator scene incident, Kramer vs. Kramer producer Richard Fischoff told Vanity Fair the following.

"He was goading her and provoking her, saying 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."

Dustin Hoffman kept his improv a secret from Meryl Streep, but approached the cameraman between takes to tell him what he was planning to do to ensure he would be able to get it in the shot. The cameraman instructed Hoffman to move the wine glass a bit to the left before throwing it.

After Dustin Hoffman shocked his co-star by tossing the glass against the wall, Meryl Streep reportedly said, "Next time you do that, I'd appreciate you letting me know." You can see the scene below.

Dustin Hoffman has not commented on Meryl Streep's new revelations about the Kramer vs. Kramer elevator scene.