Streep on Hoffman: ‘He just slapped me’

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep co-starred in 1979 movie Kramer vs. Kramer.
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep co-starred in 1979 movie Kramer vs. Kramer.

MERYL Streep has finally confirmed a rumour that Dustin Hoffman slapped her on the set of Kramer vs. Kramer.

The claim was first made public in the 2016 biography Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, which alleged that Hoffman hit the actor before a scene to fire her up.

"Dustin (Ted) and Meryl (Joanna) took their positions on the other side of the apartment door. Then something happened that shocked not just Meryl but everyone on set. Right before their entrance, Dustin slapped her hard across the cheek, leaving a red mark," author Michael Schulman wrote.

Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer
Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer

But that's not the only inappropriate thing Hoffman did during filming for the movie which won five Academy Awards, including one for both Streep and Hoffman.

Before certain scenes, Hoffman would bring up Streep's recently deceased boyfriend, John Cazale, who died from cancer not long before filming began.

"He was goading her and provoking her," film executive Richard Fischoff said, according to the book, "using stuff that he knew about her personal life and about John to get the response that he thought she should be giving in the performance."

In an interview with The New York Times to promote her new movie, The Post, Streep was asked if the slapping story was actually true.

"That was when we were making Kramer vs. Kramer," she confirmed.

"This is tricky because when you're an actor, you're in a scene, you have to feel free. 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. But I think those things are being corrected in this moment. And they're not politically corrected; they're fixed. They will be fixed, because people won't accept it anymore. So that's a good thing."

In the interview, Streep was also asked about the wave of sexual harassment allegations that have engulfed Hollywood in the past few months and admitted she's been on the receiving end of such behaviour.

Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman with on-screen son Justin Henry in Kramer vs. Kramer
Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman with on-screen son Justin Henry in Kramer vs. Kramer

"I have experienced things, mostly when I was young and pretty," she said.

"Nobody comes on to me [now]. So I wouldn't have had that more recently. But back in the day, when everybody was doing cocaine, there was a lot of [expletive] behaviour that was inexcusable. But now that people are older and more sober, there has to be forgiveness, and that's the way I feel about it."

Despite being a victim in the past, Streep told The New York Times that she didn't want to name names.

"I was really beaten up, but I don't want to ruin somebody's mature life ... I do think if the world is going to go on, we have to find out a way to work together, and know that it's better for men if they respect us deeply as equals."

Topics:  dustin hoffman hollywood actress meryl streep me too sexual assault

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