At one time, Michelle Pfeiffer was the one of the biggest stars in Holywood, bringing her own unique beauty and acting style to whatever project she may have taken on, films such as Brian De Palma’s Scarface and Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Then, almost suddenly, Ms. Pfeiffer was no longer on the tips of tongues among Hollywood executives and her top billing status was no longer a guarantee. Now, as Michelle returns to the big screen with three new films in the works, the actress opens up about that exile from Hollywood and shares insight into her star-making role, Elvira Hancock of Scarface.
Michelle Pfeiffer Comes Clean About Her Absence From Hollywood
Ms. Pfeiffer hasn’t been completely abandoned by Hollywood. To be fair, Michelle has been seen in a few films over the years, but rarely enough that her absence has been keenly felt by fans. As Us Weekly reports, Michelle is back and it looks like she means to reclaim her former level of glory. Having just starred in an early 2017 release, Where Is Kira?, Pfeiffer will soon be seen in Mother! and has two more projects set to premiere as well.
Michelle reveals that she essentially sabotaged her own career by putting her children ahead of her career. Pfeiffer says she has always really enjoyed acting and being on a movie set has never left her feeling dissatisfied, but her greater concern was for her children and, to that end, she became very selective about which films she would take on. She says her criteria for opting to act in any given film came down to how it would affect her children’s lives, so she based her decisions on film locations, duration of shooting schedules, and how disruptive it would be for her family.
“And I got so picky that I was unhirable,” admits Michelle Pfeiffer. “And then … I don’t know, time just went on.”
Now, Michelle describes herself as an “empty nester” and says she’s ready to plunge back into acting with both feet, now that her schedule is more open and she can really dedicate herself to acting.
Pfeiffer and writer David E. Kelley were married in 1993 and the couple have two children, Claudia, who is now 23 and 22-year-old John.
Scarface Sent Michelle Pfeiffer Home To Cry Every Night
It’s been 34 years since Michelle Pfeiffer became a household name with her portrayal of Elvira Hancock in the Oliver Stone written, Brian De Palma directed Scarface, but, as Entertainment Weekly reports, the experience of making that film is still with her. Scarface is memorable for Pfeiffer for a number of reasons, the least of which being that the demands of her role were very stressful.
“I can tell you that I was terrified. And it was a six-month shoot I think. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and I were really the only females. It was a boys’ club,” Michelle recalls.
“And it was also the nature of the relationship, for Tony Montana to be very dismissive of my character. So I would go to sleep some nights crying.”
Michelle adds that she was able to get through the experience because she has a strong will and her Scarface character, Elvira, is also a tough, defiant figure. The actress says she used Elvira’s personality as a shield when she would feel more affected by the situation on the Scarface set. Ms. Pfeiffer adds that her character’s ability to tune things out taught her to do the same.
Ms. Pfeiffer also shared feeling like a “fraud,” because she never went to acting school or rose up through the ranks in the same ways that more classically trained actors have done. She says that success came to her before she was really prepared for it, so she’s always feared that people would find out that she’s been faking her way through it.
In truth, Pfeiffer has just been learning through experience, as opposed to getting her education in a classroom.
“I didn’t have any formal training. I didn’t come from Juilliard,” says Michelle.
“I was just getting by and learning in front of the world.”
Michelle Pfeiffer stars in Mother!, set for an October 13 theatrical release and will also star in the made for T.V. movie, The Wizard of Lies, set for a May 20 premiere. Also due out this year on November 22, Ms. Pfeiffer will appear in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express.
[Featured Image by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images]