A Hoffman-Streep Behind-the-Scenes Drama That Almost Ruined Kramer vs. Kramer

Image credit: Legion-Media

Dustin Hoffman has portrayed many bright and memorable characters on screen.

The audience loved him as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, Jack Crabb in Little Big Man, Ted Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer — and these are just a few of his prominent roles. By the way, the latter role, which brought Dustin Hoffman his first Oscar, is also remembered for the actor's terrible scandal with Meryl Streep.

Today, Hoffman blames himself for the incident and says that he still feels like a monster because of what happened.

So what happened exactly?

Dustin Hoffman's first Oscar came for his role in Kramer vs. Kramer, where he starred together with Meryl Streep. At that time, the actor was going through a painful divorce from Anne Byrne, which certainly caused great emotional anguish in Hoffman. Things were not going well for Meryl Streep either: the actress had just lost her fiancé John Cazale, who died of lung cancer. The psychological problems aside, the two actors just didn't hit it off right away and were constantly arguing on the set.

Hoffman thought that Meryl was capricious and arrogant, and he was annoyed at the actress wishing to change some of the scenes to make them less misogynistic (from the actress' point of view).

On one occasion, he even yelled, "Meryl, why don’t you stop carrying the flag for feminism and just act the scene." Hoffman's anger built up and erupted in an on-screen quarrel getting out of hand: while he and Meryl were in a scene, he unexpectedly threw a glass against the wall right above Meryl's head. Shards of glass fell on the actress' head and got stuck in her hair.

It took a while before Hoffman realized that what he had done on the set then was outrageous. He later publicly apologized to Meryl Streep, but still, the actor says he is remorseful about that ugly incident. It seems that, later in life, Hoffman never engaged in such behavior again, and he always treated women with respect.