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Dustin Hoffman on Brainwashing and Invisible Women

“Good day, Dr. Brewster. I said good day sir.”

Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie is easily one of the best performances ever by any actor. Hoffman was annoyingly, famously careful in his research bringing this character to life but in the process it made him think differently about women. One of the laments in watching how Hollywood is changing is that the actors and filmmakers who came of age in the late ’60s and early ’70s are going away. There are no brilliant minds to replace them. It was an era of smart actors, assertive women, political action, daring cinema, Blood on the Tracks for godssakes.  Though it was mostly before my time I can’t help but continually look back at the great generation of artists that era produced.  I am hoping that soon there will be prominent actors like Dustin Hoffman who are not afraid to think and to say things like this (thanks to @maxthegirl):

7 Comments on this Post

  1. The Pope

    In another, earlier interview (I think it’s on a DVD feature) where Hoffman says in much more explicit terms how he discovered what it felt like to be a woman whose value judged solely on how she looks. He knew then that if he were a woman his life would have been spent essentially being passed by. Crushing realization and an amazing admission on his part. I wonder how many actors would have the courage and humility to express that in interview. The fact that Hoffman is still upset by the memory shows how deeply shocking the self-realization was.

    Re: your lament that there aren’t that many brilliant minds. I think that two things have changed. The way the game is played now; much more financial risk so you can’t have actors going off message. And secondly, the more films that are made the fewer taboos there are to be broken. Could Chinatown be made in today’s climate? Course it could, but it wouldn’t have any of the impact because that topic is now the preserve of morning talk-shows/confessionals. The shocking plot twist would be so passé. We’re now at the stage when Sofia Coppola tackles the ennui of celebrity and people shrug as if to say the film is shallow… “because it’s about celebrity.”

  2. Kasia

    “That was never a comedy for me”.
    It’s incredible how much empathy this man has. Very, very classy.

  3. GoOnNow

    I love it how he always cries or is about to cry, such an emotional man he is!

  4. Scott

    I want to believe that empathy is real, but whenever an actor cries on cue like that it rings false

  5. You need to sit and have a conversation with Gael García Bernal. Brilliant, beautiful mind.

  6. I disagree. He essentially admitted that he is biased, and continues to be.

    He wanted the makeup team to make HIM more attractive. He felt undervalued because of his own looks. That is pure ego, not empathy.

  7. Acting at it’s best – it’s almost believable, isn’t it?

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