Michelle Pfeiffer fielded a rather bizarre question after the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival’s special 35th anniversary screening of Scarface in New York City on Thursday, April 19. Joined on stage for a panel by her co-stars Al Pacino and Steven Bauer, and the film’s director Brian De Palma, the 59-year-old actress spoke candidly for the first time about her acclaimed role as cocaine addict Elvira Hancock. When the evening's moderator Jesse Kornbluth asked the star how much she weighed at the time of filming, the audience quickly booed and protested. However, Michelle kept cool and deftly answered the odd question.
The cast of Scarface reunited at Tribeca Film Festival 2018 Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
“Well, OK," she responded. "I don’t know, but I was playing a cocaine addict, so that was part of the physicality of the part, which you have to consider… The movie was only supposed to be, what? A three-month, four-month [shoot]? Of course, I tried to time it so that as the movie went on, I became thinner and thinner and more emaciated." Since the movie ended up going on for six months, she said that she was "starving" by the time it wrapped.
Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino at the screening Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
"The one scene that was the end of the film where I needed to be my thinnest, it was [pushed to the] next week, and then it was the next week, and then it was the next week," she recalled, according to USA Today. "I literally had members of the crew bringing me bagels because they were all worried about me and how thin I was getting." She then added: "I think I was living on tomato soup and Marlboros."
The host's question continued to make waves as it lit up social media on Friday. Jesse then released the following statement to IndieWire, explaining his inquiry: "It is true that a gentleman should never ask a woman about her weight. But that was not my question. It is a comment on the knee-jerk political correctness of our time that no one would be shocked if you asked Robert De Niro about the weight gain required for his role in Raging Bull but you get booed — not by many, but by a vocal few — for asking Michelle Pfeiffer about the physical two-dimensionality required for her to play a cocaine freak in Scarface."