“It Became So Complicated to Hire Me” Michelle Pfeiffer Opens Up About Returning to Hollywood
Something most people don’t know about Michelle Pfeiffer is that she started her career thanks to beauty pageants. After that, she took Hollywood by storm. But despite her success, Pfeiffer took a hiatus from acting for several years in the early 2000s, leading many to wonder why she left the spotlight.
Michelle Pfeiffer’s career started thanks to pageants.
In her 20s, Pfeiffer decided to participate in several pageants and even won the Miss Orange County beauty contest in California. Although her participation wasn’t completely random. According to the actress, “I went in doing this because I was told that one of the judges was a commercial agent and he had been known to sign people from the pageant.”
After being signed with an agent, they tried to persuade her to give up on her last, which she refused to do — thankfully.
Her career took a 180° turn.
When Pfeiffer arrived in Hollywood, she began playing small TV roles. Her first major film role was in Grease 2, which was a massive box office flop, and the reviews weren’t great either. Despite the failure the movie experienced, Pfeiffer’s career was still able to flourish.
Although, at first, she was typecast, saying, “I was cashing in on my looks.” In an interview she talked about one of her first jobs. Pfeiffer noted, “I played the blonde bombshell where I had fake breasts and was in hot pants, I didn’t even have a name, she was just called ’the bombshell.’”
Michelle Pfeiffer stated in an interview that while she was working in Grease 2 and even on Scarface she was still considered “arm candy.” It wasn’t until she played a part in the movie, Married to the Mob, and then met renowned director Martin Scorsese that she got different job opportunities.
She even talked about how she began choosing her own roles. “I was very careful about when I had the option of actually choosing, because sometimes you just have to pay the rent. But when I had a choice of doing something that had nothing to do with how I looked, I would take that opportunity every time.” Scorsese cast her for the acclaimed film, The Age of Innocence and she got the play the iconic character of Catwoman in Batman Returns.
She took a step back from acting.
Around 2013, Pfeiffer decided to take a break from showbiz to raise her kids. “It had a lot to do with having a family and prioritizing the family, and being very picky about where I went, when did I go, how many weeks was it, could I bring the kids with me, could I get back to see them. And it became so complicated to hire me that it just probably wasn’t worth it.”
The actress adopted a little girl in 1993 and had a son in 1994 with her current husband, David E. Kelley. Her fame made it hard for her to protect her kids from the media. “I just couldn’t bear seeing photos of me picking them up in carpool for public consumption.” She continued, “And then they’d follow me home with them in the car, which was terrifying to me. There were cameras right in their little faces, and it traumatized them.”
When she was asked if she missed working during her hiatus, Pfeiffer responded, “Not at all, actually. We had made a huge move [to the Bay Area], and I really underestimated what that entailed, starting all over in a new city [...] Then raising kids is just consuming, and before I knew it, 3 and a half years had gone by, and then it was 5 years.”
She came out of retirement.
After her 5 year long break, Pfeiffer was eager to return to the big screen. “I must have been hankering to work again because I started thinking about it, and then my kids were ready for me to go back to work.”
Now, the 64 year-old actress gets to play fascinating characters. “The kinds of roles you’re offered change as you get older and, in many ways, they’re a lot more interesting now.” Since her return to Hollywood she has played parts in movies like Mother!, Avengers: Endgame, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and The First Lady.