WATCH: Dustin Hoffman on What Tootsie Taught Him About Beauty

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Updated July 11, 12:55 p.m. EST: This article initially reported Dustin Hoffman’s AFI interview aired in 2012, but in fact originally aired in 1998 and again aired last year in honor of Tootsie’s 30th anniversary. 

Tootsie, Sydney Pollack’s 1982 hit movie about an actor who dresses as a woman in order to score more gigs, has long been considered a comedy. But for its leading lady, Dustin Hoffman, the movie was a revelation about female beauty — and how men routinely ignore women they don’t find attractive.

Upworthy recently dug up a 1998 American Film Institute interview with the revered actor, who recounted how the film came to be created. Hoffman says he agreed only to make the movie if he could pass as a woman. After he saw himself onscreen in full makeup, Hoffman realized his female counterpart was less than attractive. In the interview, Hoffman becomes emotional discussing his character’s impact:

Talking to my wife, I said I have to make this picture, and she said, “Why?” And I said, “Because I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order to ask them out.” She says, “What are you saying?” And I said, “There’s too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”