Tootsie: Three things to know about the cult film with Dustin Hoffman

Tootsie: Three things to know about the cult film with Dustin Hoffman

40 years old, always funny: Tootsie will return tonight on France 5.

Released in the United States just before Christmas 1982, Tootsie arrived in French theaters a few months later. Sydney Pollack’s comedy, worn by Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman, therefore celebrated its fortieth anniversary this year. It is to be seen again on VOD on First Max or on France 5, this evening.

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Originally a play

Tootsie depicts an actor who, struggling with his decline, decides to create a new personality: Dorothy Michaels, a woman with a strong personality. For the better: he lands a role in a TV series and becomes very popular. And for the worse: with his cross-dressing, it is very difficult to confess to his partner who has made him his confidante… his love for her.

If Sydney Pollack brought this story to the screen in 1982, its origin dates back to the 1970s in If I lie to you?, a play written by Don McGuire around an unemployed actor who cross-dresses to get a job. Comedian Buddy Hackett (ladybug love) discovers her on stage and will seek to have her become a film to play the role of the agent in the main role. He then talks about it to Charles Evans, Robert’s brother (the producer of the Godfather), who has just decided to move from fashion where he worked to the cinema. Evans then decides to take an option on the rights by co-writing an adaptation himself with director Dick Richards (who has just directed Farewell my pretty with Robert Mitchum) and screenwriter Bob Kaufman. They then consider Peter Sellers, Robin Williams (the future Mrs. Doubtfire !) and Michael Caine for the lead role. But things suddenly speed up when Richards brings it up to Dustin Hoffman who is enthusiastic about the role and the story but demands complete creative control.

Evans agrees to retire from writing to devote himself to his task as a producer. Then very quickly, Richards was disembarked from the project in turn for creative differences and replaced by Hal Ashby (The return). But he won’t be able to go to the end either because he has fallen behind on his film in progress, Looking to get out and threats of a lawsuit if he doesn’t finish post-production set Columbia back. It was in November 1981 that the studio finally contacted Sydney Pollack who had just finished Lack of malice with Paul Newman. And the director of Our best years agree to take orders.

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Dustin Hoffman very involved

Dustin Hoffman took this role very seriously for which he was greatly inspired by his own mother, to the point that the title of the film became the nickname she gave him as a child! To create this Dorothy Michaels, he looked a lot La Cage aux Folles and took advice from Meryl Streep with whom he had just shot Kramer versus Kramer and who trained her to play Blanche DuBois in A streetcar named desire. Then, to test whether his work bore fruit, Hoffman did not hesitate to show up at a party at his daughter’s school, pretending to be her aunt to the other parents and teachers who saw only fire.

But Hoffman’s involvement was also felt in the choice of his partners. He thus demanded and obtained the presence of Bill Murray. Then managed to bend his own director, initially extremely reluctant, to play his agent. And this by bombarding him every day with a bouquet of flowers signed “Please be my agent. Tenderly. Dorothy » until Pollack gives in. His work will pay off. The film will be a hit in theaters. He will win a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination, during an evening where, nominated 11 times, Tootsie will leave with a statuette. That of the second role for Jessica Lange.

Geena Davis’ first film role

Tootsie marks the big-screen debut of Geena Davis, whom Sydney Pollack had scouted as a model before casting her as one of Dorothy’s partners. She would team up again ten years later with Dustin Hoffman on the occasion ofHero Despite him by Stephen Frears. A film produced by Columbia as Tootsie.

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