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Entries in Michelle Pfeiffer (91)


Dream of the Pfeiffival

Pfeiffer aged up to play grey haired Ruth Madoff in "Wizard of Lies"The McConaissance ended with an Oscar and an Emmy nomination. The Reeseurgence went well, too, even if it's pop cultural impact wasn't so Wild. Can't we get a Pffeiffival now? (I'll have to work on the name but renaissance and resurgence were already taken so I'm going with revival).

As previously reported our favorite M.I.A. movie goddess Michelle Pfeiffer, Susie Diamond herself, is back at work. She and Robert De Niro are currently filming their roles as The Madoffs in HBO's telefilm "Wizard of Lies". It will be Pfeiffer's first major television role in over 30 years. Among the top bakers dozen of female movie stars of the 1980s (roughly speaking that's: Streep, Close, Lange, Spacek, Midler, Keaton, Basinger, Pfeiffer, Turner, Weaver, Field, Hawn, and Winger in no particular order) only Pfeiffer and Hawn have refused to do television since. Streep and Close even dabbled before it was cool to toggle back and forth. Hawn doesn't really count as she is essentially retired and with Pfeiffer making an HBO film, yes, TV has won the final round. (There's a great conversation about this, via Jane Fonda -- who retired from movies halfway through the 1980s -- in the forthcoming movie Youth

But the most exciting thing about Pfeiffer returning to acting is not that she is -- look we've been here before and she never dives in the pool after sticking a toe in but runs from the water -- but that she'll do so twice in short succession. After the HBO movie, she's signed on for a regular movie, a proper silver screen effort from Killer Films called Beat Up Little Seagull.

Pfeiffer at her last film promotion event way back in September 2013

This is a very big deal for a number of reasons: Killer Films is awesome and has been for decades -- you can thank them for Todd Haynes and and also the bulk of interesting LGBT movies from the past couple of decades;  Pfeiffer never does "indies" so she's getting out of her comfort zone which is well past long-needed; it's a leading role and she's too luminous to get shoved to the background to play someone's supportive grandma; the director previously made the indie Mother of George which was shot by cinematographer Bradford Young... so can we hope he affixes his brilliant lenses on Pfeiffer? (What better subject for his eye than one of the world's great screen beauties?)

 The film is described like so:

Beat-Up Little Seagull follows the life of a sensitive and fragile woman (Pfeiffer) who struggles to find footing in a fast-paced world. When her mother dies, she faces a crisis in which she must find a means for survival, all the while hiding her struggles from her new lover (Sutherland)."

"Sensitive and fragile" Pfeiffer? Yes please. Perhaps she'll even cry in a sweater or lie to herself. That all said we look forward to trying hard not to view this 'struggles to find footing in a fast-paced world' plot as a thinly veiled allegory for La Pfeiffer's repeated disinterest in her own career.

Comment if you embrace this news with wet eyes and/or if you're suspicious that she won't go through with it. You can have both reactions. Your host here at The Film Experience is living proof.  



3 in One - Pfeiffer, Blanchett , Mara

 Here's Murtada with just released pictures of 3 upcoming projects.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff
Quick turnaround from the casting announcement, they have already started filming The Wizard of Lies and released the first picture. New cast members have been added to the HBO project including Nathan Darrow (famous for House of Cards' menage a trois with Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey) who will play the Madoff’s younger son Andrew.

Pfeiffer is completely transformed as Ruth Madoff. More...

Click to read more ...


What Is It With Ruth Madoff and Actresses?

You've already heard that Michelle Pfeiffer is finally planning to work again for an HBO movie called Wizard of Lies. So let's give the story its proper due.

Pfeiffer in The Family / Ruth Madoff

(I included the Pfeiff News in the last link roundup but the Pfans among you didn't deem that sufficient. (I heard from a pflummoxed pfew by e-mail). Look, stop demanding my bonafides! I have been devoted to La Pfeiff since 1985 in. real. time. I've followed her long enough to take each new probject with a full brick of salt until I see footage. She is so skittish about working.)

For the moment at least she is planning to play Ruth Madoff in Wizard of Lies with Robert De Niro in the leading role of fraudulent financier Bernie Madoff. Aside from cameos and voice work this will be her first TV role since just before superstardom hit in 87/88. In her last film The Family, DeNiro (who is 72) and she had teenage children but they're aging up this time around and delicious/undervalued Alessandro Nivola (who is 43) will play their son. Frankly I'd rather see Alessandro romantically paired with Pfeiffer than playing her biological! She's closer to his age than De Niros (by one year - hee - as she's 14 years older than Nivola and 15 years younger than De Niro - but it counts! Especially since she's so foxy. And especially because Nivola is even hotter (it sounds impossible but it's totally true) when paired with actresses that are older than he is - think Frances McDormand in Laurel Canyon, Embeth Davidtz in Junebug and Emily Mortimer in real life (his wife is just one year older - but for this argument it counts ;) 

But back to the Madoffs.

It's worth noting here that Ruth Madoff has already been played by Cate Blanchett (kinda) in Blue Jasmine, and BEFORE Pfeiffer she'll be played by Blythe Danner in the ABC miniseries Madoff (currently filming) so the disgraced rich lady is really getting around among the actresses. It is kind of an instant classic dream role in the Women Who Lie To Themselves™ subgenre.

Blythe Danner and Richard Dreyfuss in Madoff, coming to ABC in 2016.

If Pfeiffer actually goes through with it, we can hope for an Emmy but won't hold our breath. Despite her fame and acclaim, she has never been an awards magnet only picking up an odd trophy here and there (the BAFTA for Dangerous Liaisons, the Silver Bear for Love Field, and several coveted prizes for Fabulous Baker Boys including the Globe, the NBR, and the holy trinity of critics prizes -- NYFCC, LAFCA, NSFC -- before losing the Oscar for that role. ARGH x ∞).

But after both Blue Jasmine (2013) and ABC's Madoff (2016) will audiences and showbiz voters still be into this story for a third round in late 2016 or 2017? 


Question of the Week: Assign Those "Inside Out" Emotions

Tomorrow night the Q&A series in which Nathaniel answers reader questions returns. But here's an appetizer you didn't order, courtesy of the chef, our Question of the Week. What does Carlos, who dreamt it up, win? He wins the choice of the next banner theme (to replace the food one up top). It has to be a theme that can be conveyed in small pics, otherwise it's hard to read in banner form. So let me know, Carlos.

CARLOS: Inside Out opening at Cannes makes me wonder: which performer or specific performance do you think excels at enacting each of the emotions (joy, fear, disgust, anger and sadness) featured in the movie?

NATHANIEL: What a fun question! But before I answer it with gendered actors show of hands -- were you irritated that they gendered these emotions on their computers over at Pixar? They did that with monsters too and why? There's no reason why pure emotions or monsters for that matter should have to read feminine or masculine.

Since the question hangs on pure expression of emotion, these are literally my purest answers in that I didn't censor myself and named the very first actor that came to mind.

My choice for "Joy" is Ewan McGregor because of how pure and transcendent and contagious his giddy romantic open-hearted smile is (in Moulin Rouge! especially). "Fear" I have to give to Drew Barrymore who made one of the most memorable opening scenes and characters out of only that in Scream. "Disgust" is Catherine Keener who always looks put out by everything (but truth be told I'd prefer her to take a year or two off now for some creative rejuvenation so this isn't the only thing she's giving).  

"Anger" is an emotion that's all too well represented in our macho cinema so let me come at this answer sideways with a surprise. Hear me out. I will take Heather Graham as Rollergirl in Boogie Nights from that scene in the back of a limo where they're trying to do an improv porn shoot and years of degradation finally busts some sort of dam in her and *stomp stomp stomp" byebye-prettyboy-face, sorry not sorry. It's still one of those chilling and exhilarating 'pure' emotions I've ever seen smeared across a movie screen. (It's actually my current banner on our Facebook page)

"Sadness"... that one is reserved for Michelle Pfeiffer since I always need her back on the screen and since the movie that made me fall for her was Ladyhawke (1985) where she literally has the line

I am sorrow."

...and I believed everything her face told me from that day forward.



Beauty vs Beast: Like Father Luke Son

Happy May the Fourth, everybody! Jason from MNPP here - it wasn't until this morning when Nathaniel reminded us of the annual Star Wars holiday-of-sorts that I looked back through our "Beauty vs Beast" archives and found it to be seriously Skywalker wanting, which is just unacceptable. I was maybe a little too young for the first round of Star Wars movies and definitely a little too old for the Prequels so I've never been as huge a fanatic about the series as some folks, but I enjoy the world enough that the Force Awakens trailer made me a little misty-eyed. I have my fingers and toes and lightsabers crossed that Abrams has made a good movie, one that does justice to what George Lucas accomplished and to what so many people love - the simple story of a boy and his dad, learning to find common ground.

Whose team are you on?
Team Luke Skywalker0%
Team Darth Vader0%

PREVIOUSLY Elvira Hancock might've told Tony Montana they were losers not winners but it turns out he's the only loser in this town - Michelle Pfeiffer pretty handily trounced Al Pacino in last weeks Scarface-off. Said The Pretentious Know It All:

"Admit you didn't vote for Elvira on this blog at your own peril."


Beauty vs Beast: Tip Top Trophy Wife

Happy Monday, folks - Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" - guess who is celebrating a birthday this week? If you guessed "Nathaniel's Queen Bee" Michelle Pfeiffer then give yourself a cookie... or a toot of the finest Colombian maybe? (The Film Experience does not endorse drug use.) The cocaine reference leads us to this week's competition -- we're slipping into our tightest disco pants and taking on Brian De Palma's Scarface, of course.

Nine years ago this week Nathaniel actually held a Michelle Pfeiffer blog-a-thon and I wrote up my adoration of her performance as Elvira Hancock then - you can read that here. I thought about that post as I gathered my wits about this one today - I might be blinded by my own love but I think this is probably an unfair fight that's gonna leave Al Pacino as bloodied as a body in a bathtub. Oh well. You think he cares? He'll take our fuckin' bullets!

Whose team are you on?
Team Elvira0%
Team Tony0%

PREVIOUSLY "Artificial Intelligence Week" is still going strong here at The Film Experience but a week ago we kicked it off with Fritz Lang's Metropolis and a tale of Two Marias - would Good Maria triumph over Evil Robot-Maria just like in the movie? Heck no! We wanna dance dance dance! Said RobMiles:

"I voted for Robot-Maria, but have to salute Brigitte Helm for playing both roles perfectly. PS. I've done a similar dance in my time!"



Cinemascope Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) is working on a stop motion animated film about Anne Frank. Yes, that Anne Frank
The Stake has a great piece on Tina Fey's firestarter comedy, especially its willingness to constantly poke at our racial discomforts
Playbill has fun making Stephen King's books into stage musicals
Pajiba has seen (well the first ten minutes) of a porn parody of Guardians of the Galaxy with characters named Star Load, and Bonin
EW shares the 20 best episodes of Mad Men. Great choices overall - I'll be furious forever that Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss didn't win Emmys for "The Suitcase"
MNPP I missed Matthew Goode's birthday but this is the perfect gif set with which to celebrate

Women and Hollywood the annual Crystal Awards for women in film are here and this year's honorees are Nicole Kidman and Ava DuVernay
Boy Culture celebrates the one and only Buster Crabbe with some pre-code footage
Deep Dish celebrates Bette Davis on her birthday with lots of clips from TV & film
The Guardian raves about Carey Mulligan's career and artistry. She is currently playing Bill Nighy's ex-lover on Broadway at the moment in Skylight. Yes, Nighy. He is 36 years older.
Theater Mania yes, it's true. Cats will be revived on Broadway
Salon Michelangelo Signorile writes about the bleak state of gay characters on TV, usually sexless even in shows where their straight counterparts have plenty of physical intimacy (this is especially sad to read after Looking's cancellation though the article doesn't mention that)
Comics Alliance the superhero craze has officially jumped shark? an Avengers inspired menswear line is upon us. No, not a boys underoos line, a menswear line. Kind of brings us back to that gender doublestandard discussion again, right?
Huff Post Comedy speaking of double standards read this great piece on the headlines that would follow Madonna if she did the same things celebrity men her age or older did
Maria Shriver's Blog also has a piece on ageism and sexism via the prism of Madonna
i09 proof that awards are always political -- and it isn't just Oscar that's perpetually under attack -- in this investigative piece about a very weird two years for sci-fi's "Hugo" Awards
TV Line "The Muppet Show" will be returning to ABC at some point. Let this serve as your reminder that they tried to revive it one other time in the 1990s and Michelle Pfeiffer was a guest! Here is video proof. (Yes, I was very excited that night)

Unfortunately, as in The Muppets (2011) they thought it wise to invent a new Muppet character that wasn't even a tenth as good as any of the originals. Why does this keep happening? I'm all for shaking things up lest one be fossilized in nostalgia but if you can't come up with a good character DO NOT steal screen time from the good ones!