Actor Adam Scott on Sydney Pollack’s comedy ‘Tootsie’

Hosted by

Adam Scott. Photo credit: Leigh Kelley

Actor Adam Scott is equally at home in comedy and drama. Currently starring in the third season of the beloved comedy “Party Down” on Starz, Scott also leads the cast of the hit Apple TV+ sci-fi drama “Severance,” which is currently in production on its second season.  

Every year, Scott returns to a performance by an actor who was similarly comfortable in both comedy and drama: Dustin Hoffman in the 1982 film “Tootsie.” Scott was about 10 years old when the Sidney Pollack film was released, and he remembers how it defined the comedy genre for him. 

Back then, “Tootsie” was a crowd-pleasing feature that elicited the biggest laughs Scott had ever heard, piquing his interest in acting and remaining a source of inspiration ever since.

More: Actor Adam Scott on the joy of bringing back ‘Party Down’

This segment has been edited for length and clarity. 

[“Tootsie”] was the most raucous, crowd-pleasing movie. The crowd itself was raucous because the movie played them like a fiddle.

It was like it had been created in a lab to give this group of people a great night. And still, when I watch the movie, which I do once or twice a year, I remember those laughs. 

I think the biggest laugh came when Bill Murray calls Dustin Hoffman a “slut” after George Gaines leaves. I still haven't heard a reaction like that in a movie theater or a live theater, like, “Oh my god! This is what comedy is.” 

The relationship that the movie has with entertainment and the backstage of the soap opera, and being a kid who was very curious about acting and entertainment — abnormally interested in it — I was at that age where it was becoming the only thing I wanted to think about and talk about. 

And so “Tootsie” really gave me this peek behind the curtain. Because it's a soap opera that they're making, it's a perfect place for a movie to be able to draw that very distinct line between reality and the show, because the show is ridiculous. They were able to really delineate between the two, and able to clearly define what everyone's relationship to the show and to the make believe is.

And then Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Dorsey comes in and just drops that line, messes it all up. Just scrambles. Throws all the game pieces off the board.

There's this making-of doc that I had never seen. Sydney Pollack really openly takes this film crew through the making of “Tootsie,” and both he and Dustin Hoffman are really frank about how hard it was to make, which is just fascinating because there was, I guess, a lot of tension. Sydney Pollack wanting to make this crowd pleaser; Dustin Hoffman wanting to make this sort of more risky, genre-breaking piece of cinema. And I think that tension created this perfect movie that's both of those things and evergreen, and it's just perfect and timeless.



Rebecca Mooney