Michelle Pfeiffer on Playing a Protective Parent in ‘The Family’ and Whether She’d Ever Want to Direct Films
I don’t often write things like this on Daily Actor, but I recently got to see Michelle Pfeiffer in person at a press conference for The Family, a new mafia comedy film she stars in alongside Robert De Niro, and she is a remarkably beautiful woman. Normally I’d focus on her talent as a three-time Oscar-nominated actress over her long film career of great performances, but… well, she’s beautiful.
Okay, I’m supposed to actually write about the movie. I just had to get that out of my system.
In The Family, Pfeiffer stars as Maggie Blake, a former mob wife now in witness protection that will stop at nothing to protect her family from vengeful mobsters whom her husband (played by De Niro) ratted on. Pfeiffer points out that actually being a parent helped her play such a protective parent. She explains, “It’s something that you automatically draw on. That degree that you would go to in order to protect your family, and how complicated families and long relationships can be — you innately understand that.”
On the other hand, now that her youngest child is going to college, Pfeiffer has found that she is now more available to take on roles. She says, “I’m dropping my son off at college on Saturday, so I’m in an interesting place. I just got offered this movie that shoots in New York. Before, when he was with me, it would have been, ‘Oh, God, how long is the shoot? When would I have to be there?’ I would have run through this list of prerequisites, and it would have been stressful. But this time my response was just, ‘Great — I get to go to New York!’ I haven’t had that feeling in 20 years, and it’s actually kind of liberating.”
She suggests that moviegoers like mafia films because they get to see characters do things that people sometimes wish they could get away with in real life. She says, “I think we all gravitate to people who behave in risky ways, people who break the rules. We spend our whole lives being told not to break the rules, to try to fit in, to do the right thing. The people in this movie are not doing the right thing, and they’re getting away with that. There’s a part of us that wants to live vicariously through characters like that, whether it be on film or in life.”
However, just because Pfeiffer is more available doesn’t mean she has plans to go beyond acting just yet. She reveals, “I’ve been told that I should direct, but I think that’s because I have a controlling nature. I always have my hands in everyone’s department. But directing is all-consuming; it’s a much bigger commitment than acting. I had a production company for a while, and I was happy when it ended. I loved the creative elements of producing, developing scripts and working with writers, but I became too aware of the business end of things, which is what I dislike about this business.”
via USA Today