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Tootsie (1982) Poster

(1982)

Trivia

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Dustin Hoffman allegedly tried out his role as Dorothy by passing himself off as his daughter's Aunt Dorothy at her parent's evening at school. His performance was so strong he actually convinced the teachers present. They never suspected.
During a 2008 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman (1993), Dustin Hoffman revealed that, while dressed as Dorothy Michaels, he played a trick on legendary actor José Ferrer. While in an elevator, Hoffman introduced himself as Dorothy, a big fan and member of the Dallas Theater. Ferrer bought it and seemed flattered. Hoffman then asked if he could "suck Ferrer's c**k". After a long pause, Ferrer raised his right-hand and said, "Not right now, thank you." After Hoffman exited the elevator, Ferrer looked at assistant director David McGiffert and asked, "Who was that scumbag of a woman?" A year later, Hoffman ran into Ferrer again at a benefit and teased him for being fooled.
The crew would only give bad news to Dustin Hoffman if he was in drag. They said he was "much nicer as a woman".
The movie's line "I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man. Know what I mean?" was voted as the #61 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
Bill Murray agreed to omit his name from the opening credits to prevent audiences expecting a "Bill Murray" movie along the lines of Meatballs (1979) or Caddyshack (1980).
The character of Dorothy originally did not speak with a Southern accent, but in doing research Dustin Hoffman discovered his voice fell more closely into the range of female pitch while doing the accent.
Dustin Hoffman first got the idea to do this film while working on Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). He felt his character in that film had to be both a mother and a father, so he started thinking about how to play a man and a woman. Several scripts, several writers and a few directors later, this was the result.
Cinematographer Owen Roizman was initially opposed to Dorothy's character wearing glasses, as the reflective nature of their lenses tend to hamper lighting crews. After some tests, however, it was decided that glasses added a distinct, flattering dimension to Dorothy: Hoffman's prominent nose became less obtrusive and the glasses further feminized his personality, creating a more noticeable gender separation between the Dorothy/Michael characters. The glasses stayed, but a compromise was reached when Sydney Pollack suggested that the production try a special non-reflective coating developed by then Panavision head, Robert Gottschalk. The spray had been used to coat camera lenses, improving light transmission through the front elements. When the spray was used on Dorothy's glasses, it proved to be a godsend.
Sydney Pollack had originally wanted Dabney Coleman to play Dustin Hoffman's agent. During a conversation that Hoffman had with Pollack, Hoffman wanted to know what forced his character to wear a dress and pretend to be a woman. Pollack's response was that, if he didn't, he would never work again. Hoffman replied that he wouldn't put on a dress if Coleman told him he would never work again, because Coleman was a fellow actor, and he wouldn't believe him. Because Pollack was the director, Hoffman insisted, he would convince Hoffman to wear a dress. Pollack still refused to play the part, so Hoffman sent him red roses every day with the note, "Please be my agent. Love, Dorothy" until Pollack agreed to take the role.
Dorothy Michaels tells April that she thinks of all the younger actresses as her daughters, and "What kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my girls...tips?" In a 2014 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Geena Davis recalled that since this was her first movie and she was very young and inexperienced (she didn't even know that she didn't have to come to the set on days when she wasn't shooting any scenes), Hoffman similarly acted as a mentor to Davis. One piece of advice he gave her was: "I know you're going to move to Hollywood and be successful, and your costars are going to hit on you, and you should not sleep with your costars. It's a bad idea. So here's what to say. When they hit on you, say, 'I would love to'--be very flattering--'but I'm afraid it would ruin the [onscreen] sexual tension between us.'" Davis said that she later used that tactic when Jack Nicholson hit on her, and Nicholson's response was, "Oh my god, where'd you get THAT? What a line--oh, man!"
Though the working title for the film was originally "Would I Lie to You?", Dustin Hoffman suggested the title "Tootsie." Tootsie was the name of his mother's dog.
During the credit sequence Sydney Pollack provides the voice of the unseen play director who tells Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), "We're looking for someone older," then, "We're looking for someone younger," and finally, "We're looking for someone else."
The greatest challenge for Dustin Hoffman was getting Dorothy's voice right - he reportedly received help and coaching from Meryl Streep (with whom he had just co-starred in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)). He would read the role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and she would offer feedback.
While being profiled for "The Directors" series, Sydney Pollack claimed that Dustin Hoffman refused to continue working on the film unless Pollack played his agent. Pollack refused up until Hoffman's agent Michael Ovitz intervened and Pollack reconsidered. He later agreed to play the role. The scenes featuring Hoffman's and Pollack's characters were meant to reflect what happened behind the scenes between the two when they would argue. In fact, Hoffman and Pollack quarreled so furiously during filming that they never did another film together; while they did discuss mending fences in order to work on Rain Man (1988), ultimately Pollack declined the director's spot for that film, leading to the hiring of Barry Levinson.
The number of candles on Michael Dorsey's cake suggest that he is 38 years old.
Producers hired Holly Woodlawn, a well-known transvestite, to coach Dustin Hoffman in the art of being a man acting as a woman.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #69 Greatest Movie of All Time.
The actors were told not to approach their characters as comedic characters, but as dramatic characters in a funny situation. In Sydney, Australia, director Sydney Pollack commented "No one ever laughed during the shooting of any scenes of the film. It's only funny because of its story structure."
Peter Sellers and Michael Caine both turned down the role of Michael Dorsey.
Dorothy's breasts were custom-fitted prostheses purchased from an outlet specializing in post-mastectomy products, and cost $175 each.
This picture was one three films providing four performances that were Oscar nominated for drag at the 1983 Academy Awards ceremony, an all-time record for any one year. The movies and actors were: Dustin Hoffman for Tootsie (1982); Julie Andrews and Robert Preston for Victor Victoria (1982) and John Lithgow for The World According to Garp (1982).
In an interview conducted a year before his death (in 2009), writer Larry Gelbart revealed that he nursed a grudge against Dustin Hoffman, because Hoffmann claimed that his friend, writer-producer Murray Schisgal, had conceived the movie. In his last major interview, given in 2008, Gelbart told Salon.com's Mike Sacks: "Tootsie (1982) is my vision, despite Dustin Hoffman's lifelong mission to deprive anybody of any credit connected with that movie, except for his close friend, the writer and producer Murray Schisgal. I say that because Dustin appeared with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) in 2006 and declared that the Tootsie (1982) idea sprang from Schisgal's intestines. I don't know much about gastroenterology, but I do know that the central theme for Tootsie (1982) came from me. And the central theme was that Dustin's character, Michael Dorsey, would become a better man for having been a woman. That was the cornerstone of the film. All of the other details are just floating around that idea."
In the first scene where Michael Dorsey is waking up to dress as Dorothy, there is a picture of Dustin Hoffman's mother next to the alarm clock.
According to Dustin Hoffman, he wanted Bill Murray to play his friend while director Sydney Pollack disagreed.
Cher was up for the role of Julie Nichols but Sydney Pollack ultimately cast Jessica Lange.
The song that John Van Horn sings outside of Michael Dorsey's apartment is "I'll Know" from the stage musical "Guys and Dolls."
Debut theatrical feature film of actresses Geena Davis and Christine Ebersole.
Chevy Chase auditioned for a role.
Most of Bill Murray's dialogue was improvised.
The movie's line "That is one nutty hospital." was voted as the #44 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
In an interview for the American Film Institute, Dustin Hoffman said that he was shocked that although he could be made-up to appear as a credible woman, he would never be a beautiful one. He said that he had an epiphany when he realized that although he found this woman interesting, he would not have spoken to her at a party because she was not beautiful and that as a result he had missed out on many conversations with interesting women. He concluded that he had never regarded the film as a comedy.
Writer Larry Gelbart once said that he did not meet the other writers on this project until they were on stage together collecting their awards.
The name of the TV soap-opera television series was "Southwest General". The TV show in this movie is a parody of General Hospital (1963), even referencing the "Sally Armitage is Max Hedges!" storyline plot twist.
When Michael arrives three hours late for his meeting with Sandy, he brings a container of "chocolate-chocolate chip" ice cream. This is the exact same flavour, that Dustin Hoffman had the fight scene with his son, in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
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Jessica Lange credits Sydney Pollack with guiding and shaping her performance. "He has almost impeccable taste about what's right and what he needs and doesn't need," she said shortly after filming. "I really think he did something with my performance in the editing room - made it more interesting."
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Ellen Foley has a mostly non verbal role as the assistant to the soap opera producer. Her character originally had dialog but it was cut because Foley was recording an album that hurt her speaking voice.
Originally, Sydney Pollack did not want to act in or direct the film.
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Despite the disputes over who deserved credit for the script, most everyone agrees the character of Michael/Dorothy was largely Dustin Hoffman's invention. He based his female character on his own mother, who was then very ill and near death.
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To prepare for his role, Dustin Hoffman watched La Cage aux Folles (1978) several times. He also visited the set of General Hospital (1963) for research, and conducted extensive make-up tests.
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The film was part of a breakthrough cycle of mainstream Hollywood studio movies featuring gay partnerships and drag characters. Others included Making Love (1982), Cruising (1980), Partners (1982), Victor Victoria (1982) and Personal Best (1982).
Robert Garland did uncredited work on the script.
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In a deleted scene, film critic Gene Shalit interviews Dorothy Michaels.
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Dustin Hoffman's two-hour make-up preparations included shaving his legs, arms and the back of his fingers while in a sauna, taping back his facial skin to tighten his features and installing daintier-looking false teeth. No amount of make-up, however, could conceal Hoffman's five-o'clock shadow for very long. He could only be filmed for three to four hours at a time.
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Sydney Pollack performed a number of roles on this picture. Pollack was a producer, the director, and played a key supporting role as Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman)'s agent.
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At one point in development Hal Ashby was attached to direct.
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This movie along with The Verdict (1982) premiered in December of 1982. Both mark the first screen roles, although uncredited, for Tobin Bell.
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Dorothy Michaels (Dustin Hoffman)'s costumes were designed to conceal Dustin Hoffman's Adam's apple and 16-inch neck.
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The nick-name of Sandra Lester (Teri Garr) was "Sandy", the nick-name of Leslie Nichols (Charles Durning) was "Les", the nick-name of television star Dorothy Michaels (Dustin Hoffman) was "Tootsie", whilst the nick-name of actor John Van Horn was "The Tongue ".
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Jessica Lange once said of this movie: "It took Sydney Pollack a long time to get me to do Tootsie (1982). I asked myself if I wanted to play some frothy, ditzy character after I had just done Frances (1982). Obviously, I'm thrilled that I did".
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All the insane ways Dorsey gets fired or quits from a production actually happened to Dustin Hoffman.
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Producer Dick Richards was also supposed to direct but was replaced by Sydney Pollack.
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During the film's closing credits, star Dustin Hoffman receives both top first and second placed billing, for the characters of Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels respectively, with Hoffman's male actor character getting top billed, and the more standout star-turn character of his drag female persona self getting billed second.
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First credited acting role in a cinema movie of producer-director Sydney Pollack in approximately twenty years with his last at the time having being as Sergeant Owen Van Horn in War Hunt (1962). In Tootsie (1982), actor George Gaynes portrays a character called John Van Horn.
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The picture was nominated for a sizable ten Academy Awards in 1983 including Best Picture but was able to only take home the one gong for Best Actress in a Supporting Role awarded to Jessica Lange.
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According to the preliminary production information, Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is divorced. Hoffman's character in the then recent movie Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) was also divorced.
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The hat rack at the head of Michael's bed, may suggest the many different hats (positions) the lead character has to wear in order to survive in his career.
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Jessica Lange said that at first she had trouble modulating her performance for a comedy. Having just completed the highly emotional drama Frances (1982), she found herself giving too much intensity to some scenes, particularly one that called for her to be angry. "I came out of my dressing room and tore the set apart," she said. "After the take, there was this incredible stillness."
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Actress Jessica Lange has appeared in two films that have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards: Tootsie (1982) and All That Jazz (1979). Both films are about performance and neither movies won the Best Picture Oscar.
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One of the movie's main trailers includes some pick-up shots such as of actorial promotional photographs of actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) and film footage actually not seen in the actual picture itself.
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Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack feuded so intensely over small things that Hoffman ended up suggesting that Pollack play his agent so they could get that into the film (and, perhaps, give Pollack a chance to vent).
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This movie is the favourite film of actor Jim Parsons.
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The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Geena Davis, Sydney Pollack; and four Oscar nominees: Teri Garr, Bill Murray, Murray Schisgal and Charles Durning.
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Scenes set in the New York City Russian Tea Room were filmed in the actual restaurant, with additional scenes shot at Central Park and in front of Bloomingdale's.
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The first film shot entirely on Kodak's newly introduced 250T 5293 film stock.
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The film represents the first of two [to date, May 2015] Academy Awards won by actress Jessica Lange who later won the Best Actress Oscar around twelve years later for Blue Sky (1994). Lange has been nominated for an Oscar six times, they all being for Best Actress except for Tootsie (1982), losing four times but winning twice. Tootsie (1982) is the only ever time [to date, May 2015] that Lange has been Oscar nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
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The film had script problems during shooting, until Elaine May solved them. She also created the character of Jeff Slater.
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The film lingered in development for a year as producers waited on a revised script. As pre-production began, the film ran into additional delays when Dick Richards left the role of director due to "creative differences". He assumed the role of producer instead, being replaced by Hal Ashby, who was subsequently forced to leave the project by Columbia Pictures because of the threat of legal action if his post-production commitments on Lookin' to Get Out (1982) were not fulfilled.
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The script was still being rewritten as filming began. In fact, so many writers appeared before the Writers' Guild panel seeking to be credited that the arbitration over it delayed the release.
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Dudley Moore was considered for Michael Dorsey.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Actress Geena Davis and actor Dustin Hoffman later both appeared in Hero (1992) around a decade later . Both pictures were made by the Columbia Pictures studio. Hero (1992) is the second and final [to date, February 2016] of their two collaborations together.
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The film available on DVD and Blu-Ray from the Criterion Collection.
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Hal Ashby was assigned as director, but he was forced to leave the project by Columbia Pictures because of the threat of legal action if his post-production commitments on Lookin' to Get Out (1982) were not fulfilled.
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Actor Dustin Hoffman plays dual roles or two characters in this picture: Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels, the latter being a cross-dressing character which is played by the former. Both character names share slightly different versions of the name Michael(s) and each character's names have initials which are the reverse of each other i.e. "MD" and "DM" respectively.
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Star Dustin Hoffman appears in drag in this major motion picture. This fact was blatantly promoted in the picture's promotions and publicity so most audiences already new the story element prior to seeing the film that Hoffmann would be appearing in the picture in drag.
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Actress Amy Lawrence portrayed a character, Amy, who had the same first name as her own.
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The 87th actress to receive an Academy Award was Jessica Lange for this film. Lange won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Tootsie (1982) at The 55th Annual Academy Awards on 11th April 1983.
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Star Jessica Lange in this movie is one of twenty-six actresses to have won an Academy Award for their performance in a comedy, hers being for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
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Cameo 

Andy Warhol:  Uncredited, as himself.
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Gene Shalit:  Uncredited, the film critic as himself.
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Bernie Pollack:  The film's costume supervisor and brother of actor-director Sydney Pollack as Actor #1. This was the second of three times that he appeared in one of his brother's movies, the first was Bobby Deerfield (1977) and third and final one would be in Havana (1990).
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