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Hoffman break-up inspired Kramer

HOLLYWOOD legend Dustin Hoffman said he found it "liberating" filming the Oscar-winning divorce drama Kramer vs Kramer while his own marriage was crumbling.

The actor, who won his first Oscar for the 1979 film, said he based much of his role on his failing relationship with his first wife Anne Byrne and also had a hand in rewriting the script to reflect his own experiences.

He said in a magazine interview: "I expected it to be a painful experience and I realised it was the opposite. It was liberating.

"If you're a writer, you get up in the morning and you write what's coming out of you. But an actor is working off someone else's creation. With this, I felt like the author of it."

Hoffman also revealed he almost lost the role that won him his second best actor Oscar when he asked Rain Man director Barry Levinson to give his part playing Tom Cruise's autistic brother to Richard Dreyfuss after filming had begun.



Levinson, whose films include Bugsy and Good Morning Vietnam, said: "I think if he could have seen the role before he began, he might never have done it."

The 75-year-old Hoffman recently made his directorial debut with Quartet, a comedy about four elderly opera singers who are reunited in a specialist retirement home, that stars Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly and Tom Courtenay.