When one thinks of Michelle Pfieffer, the word “timeless” comes to mind. She is one of those big Hollywood names you know is just there, and whose next movie would definitely be something to watch out for. That it would only be a matter of time before she comes back to the silver screen, until you realize, she hasn’t been around for quite some time.
After 2013’s The Family, Michelle put herself on a self-imposed hiatus. On her latest interview for Interview magazine, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky called Michelle’s absence from Hollywood, a “famine,” and prodded the actress to reveal the reason behind it.
“Well, the first thing that comes to mind is I’m an empty nester now,” Pfeiffer explained. “I’ve never lost my love for acting. I feel really at home on the movie set. I’m a more balanced person, honestly, when I’m working. But I was pretty careful about where I shot, how long I was away, whether or not it worked out with the kids’ schedule. And I got so picky that I was unhirable. And then … I don’t know, time just went on.”
“And now, you know, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I’m more open now, my frame of mind, because I really want to work now, because I can.”
True to her word, Pfeiffer has 2017 all lined up for her fans. First, she stars in Barry Levinson’s HBO film, The Wizard of Lies, which will be released next month. Opposite Robert De Niro, Michelle will be playing Ruth Madoff, a wife who learns of her husband’s crimes. She is expected to portray a mother and wife who is forced to weather the implosion of this circumstance on her life and her family.
Come fall, Michelle is set to appear with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in a mysterious film titled Mother! Later on, she will then join Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and Daisy Ridley in an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.
Michelle shares that since she was little, she had always known that she wanted to be an actress. In high school, she took theater so that she could avoid taking an English course, which Michelle says she was terrible at. At the time, the kids in the theater department were known as the “strange kids on campus,” but the future Catwoman felt right at home that she never felt like an outcast at all.
That time, though, Michelle never really thought to pursue acting. First, she went to court reporting school, and then succumbed to the workforce and joined Vons supermarket as a checker.
“I got kind of frustrated there. I remember distinctly standing in the check stand in a fit of desperation and wanting to tell one of these customers where they could shove this cantaloupe. I thought to myself, ‘What do you want to do with the rest of your life?’ And it was acting,” Michelle recounts.
It was this passion that pushed Michelle to get out of her comfort zone. She relates thinking that although she could live a comfortable life working in her safe job at Vons supermarket, the nagging feeling of wanting to be an actor won over what she thought could be a life of certainty. Michelle said that at the time her thought process was that since she was still young, if she fails at being an actor, she could always do something else.
“This is how I approached acting, that it’s okay to fail. You try different things. Like a designer with Post-it notes, you throw out bad idea after bad idea until you stumble upon the good one.”
Meanwhile, as famous as an A-lister could be, Michelle hasn’t always been open to being interviewed—in fact, she still isn’t. She further revealed that her aversion for interviews stemmed from her fear of being judged. The Hairspray star said that because she didn’t receive formal training, people might think she is a fraud, and that she really didn’t know what she’s doing. Meanwhile, her peers were probably trained and received formal lessons from Juilliard.
However, Michelle Pfeiffer should really forget about this irrational fear. A talent like hers is the type that doesn’t need certificates on the wall to prove that she is great at what she does. In a span of five years from 1989, she has been nominated at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes for her roles in Love Field, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Dangerous Liaisons, The Age of Innocence, Frankie and Johnny, The Russia House, and Married to the Mob.
But the bottom line here really is, if Michelle didn’t pursue her passion, she might have lived a stable and comfortable life checking groceries at Vons. And we would have never heard of her distinct and iconic purr in Batman Returns.
Meow to that.
[Featured Image by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]