Meryl Streep is finally commenting on reports that Dustin Hoffman slapped her while filming the 1979 classic film Kramer vs. Kramer.
The 68-year-old actress, who won her first Oscar for the role, told the New York Times in a new interview that she felt Hoffman overstepped in that moment.
“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”
She added, “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.”
Streep was a relatively unknown actress when she was cast opposite Hoffman, now 80, but the two didn’t get along throughout filming. The veteran actor once shattered a wine glass in the middle of a scene without alerting an incensed Streep, who ended up with shards in her hair, according to producer Sherry Lansing’s book.
But tensions boiled over the most when Hoffman slapped Streep as they were about to start filming in an effort to elicit a more authentic performance from the young actress. Streep was “furious,” producer Stanley Jaffe says in the book.
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The pair’s relationship grew so strained, according to director Robert Benton, that he expected that he had a giant flop on his hands. Of course, it was quite the opposite: Kramer vs Kramer went on to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress for Hoffman and Streep, respectively, at the 52nd Oscars.
Though both actors have gone on to celebrated careers, the two have never worked together again. Hoffman has recently been accused of sexual misconduct by five women.