‘Tootsie’ Role Opened Dustin Hoffman’s Eyes About Women’s Looks

Jul 11, 2013 7:42am

In the film “Tootsie,” Dustin Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, a down-on-his-luck actor who dresses up as a woman to land a role on a soap opera.

The film was released in 1982 and became an enormous hit.

Despite all the jokes in the film about his character being a “nottie” rather than a hottie, Hoffman has revealed that when he saw the screen tests of the film he was shocked to see how he looked in drag.

“If I was going to be a woman, I would want to be as beautiful as possible, and they said to me, ‘That’s as good as it gets.’ Uh, that’s as beautiful as we can get you, Charlie,” Hoffman said in an interview with the American Film Institute.

MORE: Oscar Winner Dustin Hoffman’s New Role Behind the Camera

In the interview, Hoffman said he’d initially had doubts about making the movie unless he could be made to look like a beautiful woman.

Video of the emotional interview was posted to YouTube in December, but it’s only now going viral.

In the moment he was told that he was as attractive as he was going to get as a woman, the actor said he had an epiphany.

“I went home and started crying, talking to my wife, and I said, ‘I have to make this picture,’” Hoffman said, choking up as he recalled his reaction. “And she said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because I think I’m 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 for us 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. And that was never a comedy for me,” he said.

Video of Hoffman’s comments was posted to YouTube on Dec. 17, 2012. As of Wednesday night, it had been seen more than 3.3 million times.

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