SAYS HER READING SHOCKED DE PALMA, WARY ABOUT BOTHERING WITH THE STAR OF 'GREASE 2'
One key interview figure missing in Playboy's "Making of Scarface" article last December was Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Elvira in the 1983 Brian De Palma film. The June 2012 issue of Empire features an interview with Pfeiffer that fills in that gap quite nicely. In contrast to the odd bit in the Playboy article in which an unnamed source claims that De Palma "manipulated her brutally" during filming, Pfeiffer says herself in the Empire interview that De Palma "was really lovely." The interview covers Pfeiffer's entire career, and after discussing the actress' early role in Grease 2, the interviewer segues into Scarface...
Empire: [Grease 2] almost stopped you getting the part in Scarface. Brian De Palma was reluctant to see you because of that film, right?
Pfeiffer: He was. I knew that. The casting director, Alixe Gordin, if it weren't for her, Brian wouldn't have seen me.
Empire: How did you win him over?
Pfeiffer: It was just one of those days where I happened to give a good reading and I think he was so shocked because I don't think he expected anything good to come out of my mouth. So Brian was on my side, but Al (Pacino) was a little tougher.
Empire: So how did you get Al on side?
Pfeiffer: I think it was my screen test. It was a tremendously long audition process. It went on for months. I had to keep coming back and back and back. The more I came back the worse I got because I was so nervous and I was inexperienced. Fear is the most destructive thing for an actor. So I don't blame Al for being unimpressed with me, because I kept getting worse every time I came in. Finally I think Brian had to say, "It's not going to work," because I was just bad. But he was really lovely and I was sort of relieved because they were putting me out of my misery and I just couldn't go through it anymore. So I went about my merry way and then got a call: they wanted to screen test me. And I was like, "Oh no." I was so convinced I didn't have a shot at it that I just let go and I relaxed and showed up and it went really well -- much to everyone's surprise -- and I could tell it went well. Also I made Al Pacino bleed. I cut his hand smashing [a plate].
Empire: That's a way to make sure you're remembered.
Pfeiffer: Exactly. Although, of course, it wasn't deliberate.