Dustin Hoffman’s Tootsie portrayal is a part of cinematic history, and the in-drag early eighties romp is so legendary it was deemed “culturally significant” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry back in 1998.
But how does Dustin Hoffman feel about Tootsie? This week, a video made viral by the site Upworthy showcases a candid and moving interview that not only covers the classic film, but also features a surprisingly emotional Hoffman discussing the negative effects of female beauty standards.
Dustin Hoffman has been a Hollywood heavyweight for decades, and Tootsie is one of many films for which the lauded actor has been praised.
But Hoffman learned an unexpected lesson, one that chokes him up and prompts a tearful and moving reaction more than 30 years after he first donned a wig, falsies, and heavy battle paint to play a comically drag-bedecked Tootsie.
It’s a rare moment when we as humans can truly be without the mantle of the person we were born as and walk in another’s shoes, and Hoffman says as Tootsie, being a woman that wasn’t “beautiful” made him, a famous star, cry.
Hoffman relates the Tootsie moment in which he, as a less than “beautiful” woman, realized how many doors were closed to women who didn’t meet society’s standards.
Voice, shaking, he says:
“It was at that moment I had an epiphany, and I went home and started crying. Talking to my wife, I said I have to make this picture, and she said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen.'”
And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order to ask them out.’ She says, ‘What are you saying?’ And I said, ‘There’s too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.’
Most movingly, perhaps, the Tootsie interview ends with Hoffman saying, “that was never a comedy for me.” Watch above.