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Michelle Pfeiffer Actress

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle is one of the most prolific actresses of her generation. The three-time oscar nominated superstar has earned recogniton in movies like "Batman Returns", "Dangerous Liaisons", "Scarface" and "What Lies Beneath". Despite her age, (late 40's), she still maintains a lovely and attractive appearance that has been one of the world's favorite images. Michelle Pfeiffer was born April 29, 1958, in Santa Ana, California. Parents Dick and Donna, relocated the Pfeiffer family to Midway City, and finally to Fountain Valley. With an older brother Rick and 2 younger sisters, Dedee and Lori, Michelle was considered the tough kid and even the school bully, rather than the fragile beauty we would picture her to be. Although Michelle was always a stubborn drama queen when she was young, she did not realize until later that she wanted to be an actress. While attending Fountain Valley High School, she entered the world of the employed by working as a salesgirl at a local clothing store. After her 1976 high school graduation, Michelle went off to study court reporting at Golden West College, while working as a checkout clerk at a local grocery store. Not satisfied with her studies or her ambition, Michelle decided she wanted a change and decided to go for an acting career. She knew that beauty contests would be a good place to start since that would give her recognition and the chance to meet an agent, so she entered and won the 1978 Miss Orange County beauty pageant.

Michelle ditched her court reporting classes for acting classes, and made her onscreen debut with one line on the series Fantasy Island. After an appearance on Delta House and the film Falling In Love Again, Michelle was cast as the lead in the disappointing sequel to Grease. Although the film was a flop, those who did see it really took to the new actress. She then got her big break when she was cast as Al Pacino's wife in Scarface. Actually, director Brian De Palma originally didn't want to give her the part, until he saw her personally during casting

While her career was getting a jumpstart, her personal life experienced some confusion when she allegedly became involved with a cult in the early '80s. Director Peter Horton, who was a classmate of Michelle's during acting classes, began to date the California bombshell, and eventually rescued her from the clutches of the cult. Horton and Michelle were married in 1981.

After bit parts in small movies, Michelle co-starred with Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson in the wacky The Witches of Eastwick. She was gradually beginning to get noticed, especially after the title role in the made-for-TV movie, Natica Jackson. But just as the '80s were drawing to a close, Michelle started to work nonstop, starring in 1988's Married to the Mob, Tequila Sunrise and most notably Dangerous Liaisons, for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. In 1989, Michelle made heads turn and critics take notice in her role as lounge singer Susie Diamond in The Fabulous Baker Boys.

Her fabulous role garnered her a Best Actress Oscar nomination, as well as the New York Film Critics Award, Chicago Film Festival Award, and Golden Globe Award (to name a few), all for Best Actress in 1990. After her 1990 divorce from Horton, Michelle probably didn't even have the time to think about being single -- especially because she hardly ever was, what with dating Fisher Stevens, John Malkovich and Michael Keaton.

Her title as one of the most versatile actresses of today can be proven by the variety of films she has done: a Russian woman in 1990's The Russia House; a jaded waitress in 1991's Frankie & Johnny; Catwoman in 1992's Batman Returns; a Jacqueline Kennedy-obsessed housewife in Love Field (for which she earned her second Best Actress Oscar nomination); an inner-city teacher in 1995's Dangerous Minds; an ambitious single mother in One Fine Day (which she also produced); a fairy queen in 1999's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Calista Flockhart; and a haunted wife in 2000's What Lies Beneath, opposite Harrison Ford.

Michelle practically has a reserved spot on People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People list, having appeared on the list at least 4 times, and lucky television producer David E. Kelley gets to see the classic beauty on a daily basis. Michelle married the Ally McBeal and The Practice producer in 1993. The couple has an adopted daughter, Claudia Rose, and a son, John Henry.

One thing that Michelle has proved in her 2 decades of acting is that she's still as beautiful and talented as she was when donning that latex catsuit in Batman Returns, and she still knows how to purr better than ever before.

Her Quote: "I'm pretty determined. I mean, there's really no reason I should be where I am. I was in a beauty pageant. Hel-LO! I was in Delta House. I did The Hollywood Knights and a really bad Aaron Spelling series. The person that could turn that around--it's perseverance, really."

 

Michelle Pfeiffer: At 43 Still Going Strong

Michelle Pfeiffer/I am Sam Interview

Michelle Pfeiffer looks nothing her 43 years would suggest. Beautiful and glamorous, she has an old-fashioned Hollywood sensibility: Movie star remains emblazoned in her move. Simply dressed, he eyes are covered by up-market designer glasses. She is quietly spoken but eager to talk about her latest film, I am Sam, in which she plays a singularly obsessive lawyer who reluctantly takes on a case in which a mentally retarded adult [Sean Penn] is fighting for custody of his seven-year old daughter. It's a risky role for the acclaimed actress, and one she was terrified to play. In this interview with PAUL FISCHER, Pfeiffer discusses the film, as well as her own thoughts on parenthood and and Hollywood.

Question: I was told by your director that you were an extremely brave actress to take on a role like this. What makes you so brave to take on such a role?

Answer: It's a fine line between bravery and stupidity you know. I had some trepidations about this part, and I knew that one had to fully commit to being completely unlikeable in the beginning in order for it to work and I think I just trusted Jessie, and I was always trying to talk, her into softening her, just a little bit. I'd say: Well, maybe I should just play this, you know, a little bit softer here, and she'd say, no, I don't think so. And, um, and then toward the end, she was saying, I think you should pull it back a few notches. And I was getting a little carried away, enjoying it a little too much. But I think I just, you know, when of her strengths as a director is instilling trust in the actors, and you just feel so safe, and you also trust her taste, and you know that if you go out on a limb and you fail, you know, in a huge way, it won't end up in a movie, and I think that you can't take those chances.

Question: Can you relate to some of the driven, more obsessive aspects of her character?

Answer: Not really. You know, I could relate to her struggles with trying to balance career and trying in a very disabled way to be a good parent, and feeling that you're failing, and I feel all parents think, at times, that they are just completely and utterly failing their kids and that they totally messed up their lives forever. And, you know, there are some women in the world like this, and I think for a woman, what a woman has to face for climbing up the corporate ladder, and some times what women have to BECOME, is a much tougher version of men, and that's sad, and I've seen that a lot.

Question: Is there a parallel between that character and the kind of the pressure of what it is like to be in this business as an actress, and especially for you?

Answer: No. I think it would be more in other aspects of this business, so I think more, maybe the production end of the business. You know I love acting, and there's a kind of purity to it. I mean they can take your performance and they can completely change it in the editing room, but they can't really control what you do. It's sort of all yours, and the producing end of it is really a whole different ball game, you know, particularly being a woman producer.

Question: You're talking about balance. Where do you use the balance in your life between work and the pressure of work, there's always pressure, where's my next role going to be, is this project . where's the balance between that and over here where you're talking about?

Answer: I guess for everyone it's different and then, you know, at different times it's different. I mean I always put my children first and at the same time trying to satisfy my selfish needs because I do love to work, but I also love being a mom and I love being at home.

Question: Why do you love that? What is it for you? What connection?

Answer: I don't think you can articulate it. It's not something that you can articulate, and I think it's something that for a lot of people that I've talked to, it may come by surprise. How deeply, how deep your love runs for a child. I think it takes everyone by surprise.

Question: It's interesting that you should say that because when we talked to you about .Deep End of the Ocean,. you said that you felt the path you were taking, that the emotion of your feeling about your children, you did the script because you could relate in some ways to that script. Is it hard to, in a film like this where you are being so much of that person, is it hard to leave that emotional baggage behind when you go into this role as well, and is it to be completely clear as&

Answer: Yeah, because I was also trying to soften the relationship with HIM a little bit in the beginning, you know. Had I been able to do some of the later scenes early on, I think I would have felt . I think ultimately I mustered up the courage to do it but it was . it was difficult, but had I done some of those later scenes earlier on, I would have felt a little more courageous in the beginning to really, to really, you know, be nasty.

Question: What's interesting I found here is that your character is not only unfulfilled as a mother, but obviously unfulfilled professionally.

Answer: Oh, she's very fulfilled professionally in terms of success.

Question: Yes, but I mean she's at the end of her tether in other aspects.

Answer: Well, no, I don't think so, not professionally, but it seems that . well, I mean she's just barely holding things together.

Question: She's living on her nerves.

Answer: Yes, absolutely. Yes. You're right.

Question: She's about to crash.

Answer: Oh, yeah.

Question: What's the best part about your life right now, and what's the worst?

Answer: Gosh. I think the best part of my life right now is there's so much harmony in my family. I mean not only my IMMEDIATE family, but also my extended family and I don't know exactly why that is, and I'm not going to ask any questions, and the worst thing? I don't have a lot of bad things right now in my life.

Question: When you work, how do you deal withy the guilt?

Answer: I don't know. You just, you just take it a day at a time I guess. It's, you know, you just try to put in as much time, quality time with them when you are there, and I talk to them a lot about it, you know. I talk to them a lot about . try to get some sort of a feeling about where they are, how they're feeling about me working, and usually they're fine.

Question: Do you feel you have any obsessive compulsive tendencies like the character at all in terms of, you know, how everything has to kind of be ordered?

Answer: Yeah. Yeah, a little bit, just in the perfectionism thing, I can sort of obsess on things.

Question: Do you mean work related, or is it&?

Answer: Everything.

Question: Really? So how do you, how do you counteract that, or how do you keep that in check?

Answer: Well, becoming a parent has helped it a lot, because you can't be like that. It will just break you because they're just so unpredictable, no matter what you do. Forget about, you know, controlling them in any way, so it's really helped me a lot to sort of let go of things.

Question: The holidays are coming up, so do you cook Christmas dinner, holiday dinner, what do you like to indulge in during the holidays?

Answer: Well, I don't really like turkey, and also by the time you have Thanksgiving, it's like I'm really sort of .turkeyed' out anyway, but it's not my favorite meal. But we do a lot of family things, you know, tree trimming, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning.

Question: Do you cook? Do you prepare the family Christmas dinner?

Answer: We sort of do a potluck.

Question: You went to drama school with Sean [Penn]. Can you just talk a little bit about that? Did you know him?

Answer: Well, it's a little bit misleading because we studied with the same teacher at the same time, but you know, they had different classes at different times, and he was actually in a different class, and I didn't really know him.

Question: I understand that on this film, you really wanted to work with Sean and he really wanted to work with you. Was it all you expected it to be?

Answer: It was better than I really even expected.

Question: How so?

Answer: Well, I didn't expect him to be so much fun. I didn't expect him to be so generous as an actor. I mean I knew that he would be brilliant because he always is, but I didn't expect him to be so aware of the other actors and you know, be so giving in the process.

Question: When you're doing a scene with Sean, what does he bring to a scene?

Answer: Well, he just brings a reality to it. I mean different actors work in different ways, and it's artistically a lot more gratifying when you're really relating to each other and that's not always the case and with him, and so that sort of lends itself to sort of more surprises.

Question: Is Hollywood still in your ageist in some ways

Answer: Well, there is a sense of ageism, but I think it's also getting a lot better and I think that, you know, a new actress' opportunity getting much bigger than it used to be and that's my feeling. That's my experience.

Question: What age did you find most enjoyable?

Answer: Age?

Question: Yeah, did you enjoy your 20's, 30's, or?

Answer: I think from about the age of 34 on.

Question: Really, why?

Answer: Well, that's when my daughter was born. P.F:: When we look back throughout your movies, making Grease 2, 20 years ago, did you ever have a plan that you wanted to get to certain points in your career, or has it just kind of fallen that way?

Answer: Well it didn't just fall that way, but it also wasn't calculated either. Even when I didn't necessarily have a lot of choices, I was still picky within my limited choices that were available to me, you know, I spent a lot of time unemployed. I was very conscious of the fact that I couldn't do a lot of roles where I was just an arm piece for someone, you know, and it's kind of both.

Question: In real life, Michelle, what are you really good at? What are you just so bad at?

Answer: I'm really good at many things. No (chuckling). I'm really good at sort of physical things, sort of building things and I'm sort of good at, I guess sort of figuring things out, that kind of thing. What am I really bad at? I'm a really bad tennis player.

Question: Michelle, I read something really, really funny. Well, I thought it was funny anyway, I hope you do because it involves you. I can't remember where I read it but . the gist of it was, it was like a celebrity sighting kind of thing. Somebody had seen you, I think it was at Fred Eagles buying some books recently, like in the last couple of weeks.

Answer: Let Out the Vixen in You or something?

Question: Yeah, what was that all about?

Answer: You know what, it's a joke ad present for some friends of mine. I did not get one for myself, mind you.

Question: Why that book?

Answer: Because it was there, it was on the shelf. I didn't even really intend to get them anything for Christmas, but it was sort of this group of women, and I thought they would find it humorous, so. Yeah.

Question: What are you working on right now? Are you working on anything at the moment?

Answer: No, just enjoying being a mom.

 

Michelle Pfeiffer: What Lies Beneath

She's played a modern-day Catwoman, an 18th-century French lady, and a sexy lounge singer who knows her way around (and on top of) a piano. Michelle Pfeiffer has established herself as one cinema's greatest leading ladies, an actress who combines the looks of an ingénue with the savvy instincts and intelligence of a consummate character actress. She's tackled every genre (from musicals to Shakespeare), shared the screen with some of Hollywood's finest and hunkiest actors (George Clooney and Mel Gibson, to name only two), and won herself three Academy Award nominations (Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Love Field). Now after a string of family-based films (beginning with A Thousand Acres through The Story of Us), she takes a turn into thriller territory with the Hitchcockian suspense drama What Lies Beneath, in which she plays the wife of Harrison Ford. Together they make the perfect couple--except for the fact that there may be a ghost haunting their marriage. Amazon.com's Mark Englehart spoke with Pfeiffer by phone about ghosts, scary movies, and the water-based aspects of Robert Zemeckis's new film.

Amazon.com: How was it to work on a thriller after doing so many family-oriented dramas and comedies?

Michelle Pfeiffer: It was such a much-needed departure for me. And even though this movie was probably physically more exhausting than anything that I've ever done, I just had so much fun! It was new territory and I loved all of the technical aspects and watching Bob Zemeckis work.

Amazon.com: What kind of preparation did you have to do for the part of Claire? Did you have to prepare to be tense?

Pfeiffer: Oh no, I'm naturally tense anyway. [laughs] I don't have to work on that. You just sort of put yourself in that reality of terror. I mean obviously, luckily for me nothing compares to what this woman has been through. I had to do a lot of things to prepare; I took scuba-diving lessons because I'm terrified of water. But in actuality I just had to really get to the point where I was comfortable enough to actually get the shot. The terror actually worked for me, so I didn't have to do any preparation for that. And then I had to learn the cello enough to be able to play it in a convincing way.

Amazon.com: Do you play any instruments?

Pfeiffer: I used to play the guitar, and I had fooled myself into thinking that, well, I can play the guitar, how hard could the cello be? Well, it's a completely different instrument, and I would love to actually learn it.

Amazon.com: How long did you have to stay wet? I can imagine there must have been days on end when you were drenched.

Pfeiffer: I was wet for about a third of the movie. Completely wet every day. Hosed me down. There are two things I hate more than anything: one is being cold, and the other one is the water. So you can imagine what kind of mood I was in.

Amazon.com: In some ways, this movie is the anti-Psycho, in that you'll never want to take a bath again, as opposed to a shower. Do you have any bathroom fears now, like Janet Leigh did after making Psycho?

Pfeiffer: No, but I have to say that the whole bath experience will never be quite the same for me.

Amazon.com: How is it working with Bob Zemeckis? Do you have any particular favorites of his movies?

Pfeiffer: He was just completely present, completely prepared, so focused, so energetic and excited about the movie. And I love Death Becomes Her, with Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep and Bruce Willis; it's so funny! And I love Contact, and I like the Back to the Future films. And I loved Forrest Gump. I mean I'm just such a huge fan.

Amazon.com: Are there any thrillers that kind of inspired you when you were making this movie? It's definitely an old-fashioned thriller.

Pfeiffer: I loved Rosemary's Baby--so scary. There are movies that you love just because not only do they terrify you, but there's such amazing filmmaking, and Rosemary's Baby is definitely one of those. And then there are movies that just completely frightened and grossed you out, like The Exorcist, and like the first Alien. I thought was genius.

Amazon.com: Had you ever played with a Ouija board before this movie?

Pfeiffer: Well, when I was a kid, yes. You know, nothing really ever happened. I know that Diana Scarwid, who did the Ouija board scene with me, she had an unusual experience. And she was really wigged out doing that scene, and she did some sort of imaginary safety shield around us and everything.

Amazon.com: In that case I have to ask the requisite question: Do you believe in ghosts?

Pfeiffer: I don't know. I've never had an encounter; I've never had any proof one way or the other. But I'm open to the possibility that they do exist, and people that I know that I trust and I think are completely sane, do. And have had encounters and experiences, and I have no reason to believe that they would make it up.

Amazon.com: I heard recently that you're taking a break from filmmaking.

Pfeiffer: Just for a year. I'm already halfway through it. I know people act like I'm retiring or something. You know if I hadn't said anything, nobody would have even noticed that I was gone.

Amazon.com: Have you started making any plans yet for your quote/unquote return?

Pfeiffer: No. It's really nice, too, to not know. Because even if a movie is six months off, which seems like a long time, your head starts getting into it, you start thinking about it and this and that, and it sort of still drains your energy a bit. Distracts you from life. So right now I have no distraction.

Amazon.com: Do you have a particular performance of yours that's your favorite? Or ones that you remember very fondly?

Pfeiffer: Well, I like certain things about certain characters. There are some that I really miss more than others, like I really miss Angela de Marco [from Married to the Mob] and I miss Susie Diamond [of The Fabulous Baker Boys]. But I don't particularly miss Madame De Tourvel [from Dangerous Liaisons] at all, even though I loved that movie and I'm very proud of it. You don't really miss characters like that, you're kind of glad to see them go away because they kind of were torturous.

More fast facts about Michelle Pfeiffer

Claim to Fame: 1989: Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as chanteuse Susie Diamond in The Fabulous Baker Boys

Significant Other(s):
Husband: Peter Horton, actor, director; starred in TV series thirtysomething; married 1981; separated 1988; divorced 1990
John Malkovich, actor; met while filming Dangerous Liaisons, 1988; no longer together
Val Kilmer, actor; dated in the 1980s; dedicated poems to her in his privately published My Eden After Burns
Fisher Stevens, actor; dated 1989-91; no longer together
Husband: David E. Kelley, producer, screenwriter; creator of the shows The Practice and Ally McBeal; married November 13, 1993

Family:
Father: Dick Pfeiffer, heating and air-conditioning contractor
Mother: Donna Pfeiffer
Sister: Dedee (aka Didi, DeDee), actress; born 1964
Sister: Lori; born 1965
Brother: Rick; older
Daughter: Claudia Rose Kelley, born 1993; adopted by Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley March 1993
Son: John Henry Kelley; born August 5, 1994; father, David E. Kelley

Awards:
1990: Chicago Film Festival: Best Actress, The Fabulous Baker Boys
1990: New York Film Critics: Best Actress, The Fabulous Baker Boys
1990: National Board of Review: Best Actress, The Fabulous Baker Boys
1990: National Society of Film Critics: Best Actress, The Fabulous Baker Boys
1990: Golden Globe: Best Actress, The Fabulous Baker Boys
1993: Berlin Film Festival: Best Actress, Love Field
1993: Women in Film: Crystal Award


In 1995 Pfeiffer was selected as Woman of the Year by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals.

The reluctant star Michelle Pfeiffer on lessons learned from Jessica Lange, motherhood and--ouch!--Grease 2

Michelle Pfeiffer is everything a movie star should be. Beautiful, sophisticated and talented, the three-time Oscar nominee can light up both a marquee and a screen seemingly at will.

So, why isn't she huge, her face plastered on every magazine cover and her movements tracked by every tabloid? Maybe it's because Pfeiffer doesn't want it that way. Or maybe the former Orange County beauty queen and supermarket checkout girl just likes to keep people guessing. Certainly, her résumé reads like an actor who's more interested in the kinds of films she makes than in the number of tickets she sells.

Sure, there's the occasional rubber-suited Batman Returns or the slinky red-dressed Fabulous Baker Boys. But she's just as likely to be found in a film like A Thousand Acres, a small but devastating new King Lear-derived drama about incest and sibling rivalry. Adapted from Jane Smiley's bestselling novel, the movie pairs Pfeiffer with Jessica Lange, Jason Robards and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

A Thousand Acres is, to put it mildly, an inspired follow-up to One Fine Day, Pfeiffer's romantic comedy with George Clooney. And it's yet another avenue in a career that has ranged from Dangerous Minds to Dangerous Liaisons, from The Age of Innocence to Married to the Mob.

Pfeiffer is just as hard to pin down in her private life. She adopted daughter Claudia Rose while still single. And before Hollywood could recover from the surprise, she married TV überproducer David Kelley and had a son, John.

Although she's more comfortable with her celebrity than ever, Pfeiffer really revels in her roles as mother, wife and producer (she and Lange coproduced A Thousand Acres), which probably explains why the likeliest place to find one of Hollywood's most glamorous stars is working in her Santa Monica office or simply enjoying her family at home.

It doesn't seem that commercial success guides you in choosing your roles.
I don't know what's commercial and what isn't. If I could read a script and say, "Wow, this is going to make $150 million," I'd probably do it. But I don't really have a clue. I base my decisions on what I like--parts like the teacher in Dangerous Minds, which I think my kids will be proud of. It's really not any more calculated than that.
What drew you to A Thousand Acres?
I was blown away by the novel. I had a really visceral response, particularly to the character of Rose. She's the eldest of three sisters, just as I am in real life.

It couldn't have been easy to play a suffering, emotionally unstable character like Rose.

Yeah, I didn't enjoy it. From the day I started it, I couldn't wait for the movie to end. The only part that was truly a joy was acting with Jessica Lange. I don't think I've ever had such an effortless experience with another actor.

Sometimes, the greatest performers aren't necessarily the most fun to work with, because they're more into what they're doing. But Jessica was totally responsive. It was really like waltzing with her, even in those difficult scenes that sometimes took a couple of days to shoot--it was really kind of like doing a dance.

But the rest of it was torture?
I just felt bottled up and trapped. Normally in a film, you might have one or two scenes you have some anxiety about doing. Every scene in the movie was like that for me. There just didn't seem to be any release, because as soon you would get through one emotional trauma, there would be another looming ahead.

How did your husband react to the film?
He didn't see it with me; he went to a separate screening. Afterward, he didn't call me--two hours went by. I couldn't stand it, so I called him and asked, "Were you going to call me?" And he said, "I really needed some time. I was upset because you're my wife, and it was hard for me to watch you suffering." But he also found it very moving. I think if A Thousand Acres is moving, it's successful. If it's emotionally provoking, it's successful.
Let's do a little flashback and talk about some of your other films. When you did The Fabulous Baker Boys, did you know it would turn you into a sex symbol?
I remember it was the first time in so long that I allowed myself to be really sexual--to express myself in that seductive way on film. It was very
liberating to play Susie Diamond, because I had kind of shied away from that overt sexuality for a long time. It was fun.
I remember saying to myself, Well, I've proved I can do serious work. I made a conscious decision to stay away from roles where I was the "pretty one." Now, some time has passed, and I don't have to worry about being sexy and its being taken wrong. I feel I can kind of do whatever I want.

What about Dangerous Liaisons? You got a lot of praise for your performance.
That was actually a really good lesson for me. It was kind of a risk at that time to do that movie. I had been offered another movie that seemed more of a sure bet, but I went with Dangerous Liaisons because it was really the best script.

It was probably the most emotionally wrenching character I had done onscreen at that point. But it was a great role, and I learned the importance of going with what you're afraid of--you can get rewarded for that.
Another unique, odd, wonderful role for you was in Love Field.
I really heard the voice of that character when I was reading the script. It was late at night, I was in bed, and I was just laughing out loud. I could see her. Sometimes when you read a script, your heart literally starts to race, and that was the time for me.

What did you take away from The Witches of Eastwick?
Don't ever start a movie without a finished script.

How about Up Close and Personal?
I learned how hard your job is as a reporter. It isn't as easy as it looks. People say that about my work, too. They think what I do looks easy: "Well how hard could it be--learn some lines, then get up and speak them." But a lot more goes into acting, and the same is true of being a reporter.

Tell me about it. And as long as we're divulging state secrets, tell me about The Russia House.
Sean Connery was wonderful, but it'll be a long time before I go back to the Eastern Bloc. Conditions over there were so challenging. It's totally changed now, but we had just left when the Berlin Wall came down.
And Grease 2?
A lesson in humility!
Is there a lesson in your marriage? How do you and David pursue separate high-profile careers and still find time for each other?
It's not easy. You really have to schedule it in. It doesn't happen spontaneously. We have date night, you know. We go out Saturday night, and we have a date. I look forward to date night all week. I see couples who don't do that, and they kind of use their kids to avoid each other. After you do that long enough, it gets too hard to stop. So, I think the longer you're married, the more important date night is.

Being a movie star and a mother is a juggling act, isn't it?
I learn as I go along, and I think I get better at learning when I can delegate and when I can't. It's just getting those scales to balance. Something comes along, and there goes the scales, and you have to readjust.
Claudia Rose is four, and John is two. As your kids get older, is it more difficult or more rewarding?
Well, first of all, it's so much harder than you can imagine and so much more delightful than you ever imagined. Truly. I do think I'm a better parent because I'm able to do what I love. I think it makes me a more balanced person, which makes me a better mother and role model for my daughter.

Does being a parent influence your choice of film roles?
Probably, but it's not that every movie I make now has to be politically correct or make some kind of big social statement. I just want to make responsible choices. I just don't want to be embarrassed by my choices, so at the end, when I'm not around anymore, my kids can look at my body of work and say, "She wasn't here that day, but look what she was doing. I'm really proud of her. My mom did that."

I don't want them to go to school and have kids go, "Ewww, your mom was in that terrible movie." And have them come home and say, "Mom, why did you do that?"

"What Lies Beneath" Lies on Top

What lies beneath Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer? A few stalwart mutants, a cuddly toy making its big-screen return...and one big loser.

The Ford-Pfeiffer thriller What Lies Beneath edged out the competition in its opening weekend, taking in $29.7 million at the box office and dropping the reigning mutant champs X-Men into second place. The comic book spinoff earned $23.5 million from Friday to Sunday, losing 57 percent of its opening audience from the previous weekend.

The results were good news for Ford and Pfeiffer, two A-listers who needed the boost after coming off big-screen duds like Ford's plane-crash romance Random Hearts and Pfeiffer's soapsy dud The Story of Us.
What Lies Beneath, directed by Robert Zemeckis, revolves around a well-to-do Vermont couple whose cozy little lives are disrupted by a ghost. Reviews for the film were mixed: Some critics complained that the film's revealing trailers all but gave away much of its suspense, while others raved that the Hitchcockian flick took all the right unexpected twists.

According to exit polling, the DreamWorks/20th Century Fox coproduction drew an audience that was 61 percent female, and 64 percent of theater-goers were age 25 or older.

In an altogether different demographic, youngsters flocked to the hastily released sequel for their favorite toy/gambling addiction, Pokémon: The Movie 2000. Although the fad might be waning with some kiddies, there was still enough interest to churn up $19.6 million at the box office and take third place.

Pokémon's first movie opened to $31 million last November, on its way to $86 million.

And, after 17 days in release, the Wayans Brothers' gross-out horror spoof Scary Movie came in fourth, earning $15.1 million for the weekend and boosting its total to $116.4 million (the film passed the century mark last Thursday).

The box-office tally wasn't so promising for another weekend debut, Amy Heckerling's latest teen romance, Loser. The film, which stars Mena Suvari and American Pie pastry lover Jason Biggs as the aforementioned nonwinner, lived up to its title and landed in a disappointing eighth place. Final numbers had the film dropping below another Columbia Pictures flick, The Patriot, and earning $6 million over the weekend.

Loser, which was greeted with mixed reviews, probably won't end up being listed with Heckerling's more memorable teen tales, like Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Still, Columbia Pictures says the $20 million film did succeed in drawing its targeted young female audience.

And hey, it could've been worse. This weekend's other new release, Warner Bros.' teen thriller The In Crowd, didn't even crack the top 10. The film, which opened last Wednesday, earned $1.5 million this weekend and a total of $2.7 million since its opening.

 

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