Why Michelle Pfeiffer refused to play Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs

Why Michelle Pfeiffer refused to play Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs
MGM/Cine Sorbonne

The actress, however, kept excellent memories of her collaboration with Jonathan Demme on Widow, but not too many.

Update March 28, 2022: Arte will rebroadcast tonight Thesilenceofthelambs, for which Jodie Foster received the Oscar for best actress just 30 years ago. Meet at 10:25 p.m., after the western The Last Gun Hill Train, to revisit this great classic by Jonathan Demme. To wait, here is a casting anecdote revealed in early 2021 by another actress who was in the running for the role of Clarice: Michelle Pfeiffer.

Jodie Foster: ‘It’s like my whole acting life has been my film school’

Article from February 3, 2021: Yes Jodie Foster is today inseparable from the role of Clarice Sterling, the investigator of the Silence of the Lambswho gave her the Oscar in 1992, she was not the director’s first choice Jonathan Deme. Originally, he proposed to Michelle Pfeiffer to embody this woman imposing herself within the FBI and facing the terrifying Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to investigate sordid murders.

Warning, spoilers! If she does not give details, Michelle Pfeiffer explains that she refused this offer because of the end of the film. If you haven’t seen it, better not read the next paragraph.

Asked by the New Yorker on the fact of regretting or not having refused certain roles, the actress soon to appear in French Exit respond : “Sometimes you regret that you can’t do both. When I was offered Bugsy, I had also been approached for Frankie and Johnny, which I really wanted to shoot. With Thesilenceofthelambs, I felt a certain apprehension. There was so much wrong in this movie. What I regret most is missing out on the opportunity to work with Jonathan Demme again. But evil won in the end, and that made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want to bring that to the world.”

Michelle Pfeiffer in widow but not too much
MGM

She also explains how much the director’s confidence on the set of Widow but not too much (Married to the Mobin VO), at the end of the 1980s, boosted his early career. “When I had the chance to choose a project (which is not always the case, sometimes you also have to pay the rent), I took it. If I was offered something that had nothing to do with my usual look, I chose it. I think people’s perception of me has changed thanks to Veuve but not too much (in which she is brunette, see the photo above), and I will always be grateful to Jonathan Demme for that. He had no reason to believe that I could do it… I had just shot in grease 2 and in scarface, but I was still perceived as a beginner. After Widow but not too much, it was different. I remember my meeting with Martin Scorsese, who wanted to offer me a role in The Age of Innocenceand who said to me: ‘I thought you were a young brunette from New Jersey.’ It was definitely one of the greatest compliments of my entire life. (…) I am so sad that Jonathan Demme is no longer with us (he died in 2017). He was so nice and funny. Besides, it was easy to make him laugh, so we laughed all the time. The shooting of Widow but not too much was intense, but I easily slipped into the skin of this character. I do not know why. I didn’t have to dig a lot, or work on his accent.”

Jodie Foster: why she is becoming rarer as an actress

Leave a Reply