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Emotional Dustin Hoffman Video Goes Viral: 'Tootsie' 'Was Never a Comedy for Me'

Mark Deming
Movie Talk
July 10, 2013
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman

"Tootsie" was one of the most successful movie comedies of the 1980s, but it left a serious impact on its leading man, who dressed as a woman for the role. Dustin Hoffman has revealed he was not only a bad looking woman, but that he also realized one of our culture's greatest flaws while making the iconic film.

In a video interview with the American Film Institute that has gone viral, Hoffman discusses his "Tootsie" role, in which he played Michael Dorsey, a strong-willed but out-of-work actor who lands a role on a soap opera by posing as character actress Dorothy Michaels.

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In the interview, Hoffman says that to prepare for the film, a team of makeup artists turned Dustin into Dorothy to see if he could look plausible as a woman on screen. With the right makeup and costume, Hoffman could pull off the ruse, but he was disappointed that he wasn't more attractive.

Really disappointed.

Hoffman asked his team to make him more beautiful, but he was told, "That's as beautiful as we can get you, Charlie."

Hoffman recalls that when he saw himself as a woman, he started crying and told his 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.'"

Hoffman says he had an "epiphany" about how women are judged for their appearance — and realized he had been participating in offensive behavior, ignoring women who weren't quite beautiful enough.

While the clip from Hoffman's AFI interview was posted in December 2012, bloggers only recently discovered the video, and this week, the video racked up over 2,800,000 views.

Watching it, it's not hard to see why people have become fascinated with it — Hoffman becomes very emotional as he discusses how the process of preparing for "Tootsie" changed him, and why he felt driven to make the movie.

Moreover, he spoke the seemingly unspeakable — beauty doesn't equal value. 

Watch Dustin Hoffman Discuss 'Tootsie,' Gets Emotional at 2:35-In:

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