Dustin Hoffman 'slapped' and 'taunted' Meryl Streep on set of Kramer Vs Kramer, new book claims
A new book claims that Dustin Hoffman's dedication to method acting involved slapping and taunting actress Meryl Streep on the set of Kramer Vs Kramer.
During filming of the 1979 film Streep was 29 and was on the cusp of stardom, while Hoffman, who was 42, had already shot to fame with The Graduate and Straw Dogs.
They played a divorcing couple who are warring over custody of their child.
In his book, Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, Michael Schulman alleges that Hoffman used Streep's vulnerabilities to get the best performance.
In an extract printed in Vanity Fair's April edition, he revealed that just before one dramatic scene Hoffman "slapped her hard across the cheek, leaving a red mark".
Streep did not react but continued to act the scene.
The actress had recently lost her boyfriend John Cazale to lung cancer and was still reeling from his death, something which Hoffman allegedly used towards her performance.
In another scene Streep's character tells Hoffman's that she doesn't love him anymore and is leaving, and the camera focuses on Streep leaving in a lift.
Hoffman was off camera and, according to Schulman, "he started taunting Meryl about Jon Cazale, jabbing her with remarks about his cancer and his death".
The author also claims that Hoffman used his Method techniques on seven-year-old actor Justin Henry, who played his son, telling him to imagine losing his dog before a dramatic scene.