"BRIAN WAS ROOTING FOR ME" - PACINO NOT CONVINCED UNTIL SHE LET GO OF HER FEARS, MADE HIM BLEED
Michelle Pfeiffer visited Jimmy Fallon on NBC's The Tonight Show on Thursday, May 11th. Pfeiffer described how she eventually won the role of Elvira in Scarface, after Fallon asked her if Al Pacino "was intense" during the making of the film:
Michelle Pfeiffer: Well, he was probably more intense back then, or at least, I think it was maybe the nature of the project. And he didn’t particularly want me for the part.
Jimmy Fallon: He didn’t?
MP: Look, my last credit before that was Grease 2—can you blame him?
JF: Well, no—Scarface could’ve been a fun musical, who knows? We’ll see, it’s going to be on Broadway once and we’ll be laughing. We’ll look back on this and laugh—yes, Scarface: The Musical.
JF: (dancing and singing) Say hello to my little friend! Say hello to my little friend.
MP: You know (pointing at Jimmy), that could happen…
JF: That’s what I’m saying. It could… Okay, so you go into the audition, and he doesn’t want you for that… he’s like, “No…”
MP: Well, it was really, it was a very long, drawn-out auditioning process, and there were a number of women auditioning, and it went over a period of about, I don’t know, it seemed like forever, but I think it was about two or three months…
JF: Wow—just auditioning…
MP: And I was terrified. And I was really young. And I knew he didn’t want me. And as it went on, the worse I got, because I just got so afraid. And by the end of it, Brian De Palma was very sweet, and he was really rooting for me, Brian, and he said, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re just bad now. [Laughter] What’s going on?’ And you know, it was true, and I was like, ‘I know, I know, I’m just so up in knots.’ And [he says] ‘It’s not gonna work out babe.’ ‘Right.’ So I went away, and then about a month later, they called and they said, ‘They wanted to screen test you,’ and I’m like [gasp, drops shoulders as in oh, ugh, no]. Because part of me was just relieved to have the torture end.
JF: Heh heh he, and move on with your life!
MP: And when they called, I just said, [eyeroll] ‘No’. So, anyway, I show up, and I kind of drag myself—and I have, you know, no feeling at all that I have any shot at getting this, so… So it kind of freed me up, you know, and so I wasn’t afraid. And I just sort of, I show up, and do this scene, the restaurant scene at the end, where I kind of freak out at the end, and…
JF: …trash the place
MP: [getting animated] I threw dishes, and everything went flying, and broke things…Cut! I was IN IT! And there was blood everywhere.
JF: What!?! [Laughter]
MP: And everyone comes running over to me, checking me out for blood, where am I cut, they’re not finding anything, there are no cuts on me… I look over and Al is bleeding.
JF: Oh, no, ohhh, my gosh! [Laughter] You cut Al Pacino?!?
MP: [Nodding] I cut Al Pacino! And I…
JF: [Mimicking Tony Montana] I cannot believe you threw this dish! Broke a dish… (I can’t do Al Pacino)… [more laughter]
MP: Oh my God, I cut Al Pacino!
JF: No way, oh my God! And that’s how you got the…
MP: [Regains composure with glimmering triumph] And that’s how I got the part.
[Applause, to which Michelle Pfeiffer takes a bow]