In a wide-ranging new interview with The New York Times, Meryl Streep addresses an altercation that took place between herself and Dustin Hoffman during the very first take they were filming on “Kramer vs. Kramer.” The scene featured a moment in which Hoffman’s character hits Streep, which the actor actually did during filming. When asked about the encounter, Streep admitted it was “overstepping” on Hoffman’s part.
“This is tricky because when you’re an actor, you’re in a scene, you have to feel free,” Streep said. “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. It was overstepping.”
Streep says she believes this kind of behavior is “being corrected in this moment,” alluding to the anti-sexual harassment movement taking place in Hollywood and across other professional fields. “They will be fixed, because people won’t accept it anymore,” she said. “So that’s a good thing.”
Streep and Hoffman made headlines in the fall shortly after the first sexual harassment allegations came out against the actor. An interview from 1979 resurfaced in which Streep said Hoffman grabbed her breast during their first meeting together. Streep’s representative later said that Hoffman apologized and the matter was settled between the two actors.
As for the #MeToo movement at large, Streep reiterated to the Times that she never knew about Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior, only that he had girlfriends.
“You make movies. You think you know everything about everybody. So much gossip. You don’t know anything,” she said. “People are so inscrutable on a certain level. And it’s a shock. Some of my favorite people have been brought down by this, and [Weinstein’s] not one of them.”
“I didn’t know that he was in any way abusing people,” she continued about Weinstein. “He never asked me to a hotel room. I don’t know how his life was conducted without people intimately knowing about it.”
Streep says she has experienced harassment herself when she was a younger actress, but she does not go into any specific details. Head over to The New York Times to read her full interview.