Monday, June 15, 2009

"Was that hard for you?"

Today I sat but two chairs away from Michelle Pfeiffer, my lifelong cinematic goddess. Longtime readers may be surprised to realize that I am coherent enough to type. This was only my second time in the vicinity of La Pfeiffer. The first time (before I was a *cough* professional) we were separated by a wall of paparazzi at the NYC premier of The Story of Us and I was about as coherent as, say, a tween at a Jonas Bros concert.

Cut to: Ten years later. I am happy to report that I did not hyperventilate (mostly). The room was too crowded for my tastes -- press days are strange -- but I did manage one exchange with her. People Magazine had just finished a long tangent about what she was like as a mom at home. I was finally able to speak. I allowed myself one breathless fanboy moment [sans squealing... I hope. I am scared to listen to the tape] "You're my favorite actress. ever." She was appropriately gracious about this love outburst. Then on to my question. I wanted to provide a segueway away from motherhood and back to the movies. 'Now that your children are teenagers you won't subject your pfans to another five year hiatus, will you?'
Was that hard for you?
Pfeiffer asked me in a gentle jesting tone, probably not expecting the very emphatic "YES. IT ACTUALLY WAS!" which erupted from me in response. At this she laughed and exchanged a faux familiar glance with the journalist to my right in a 'how about that?' type of aside. And then she got back to business answering my question. I got back to business taking my notes.

For the record: She wants to work more than she has been. She loves working. I can't tell you how wonderful that was to hear from her own lips.

P.S. When we get closer to Chéri's opening I'll share more from today's interviews (Rupert Friends, Stephen Frears and Christopher Hampton were also there), but let it suffice to say for now that I was h-o-r-r-i-f-e-d at the things coming out of the mouths of some of the other journalists. Someone even brought up Jessica Tandy's Oscar win... and not in the way one would think to bring it up (or better yet avoid it altogether) in Michelle Pfeiffer's presence... though she handled that faux pas with good humor, I must say. More on that later. Chéri opens on June 26th in select cities.

40 comments:

adelutza said...

You have no idea how much I envy you this momment Nathaniel. I don't tknow how you managed to type your post as I could barely read it.I might buy a flight ticket to NYC right now and stalk her while she's still there.
Very glad to hear she's going to keep working (more). Hopefully you'll post the whole interview soon.

MeMe said...

Omg, I so wanna hear about that Tandy-mention. Though that truly was a crime!

Katey said...

As a first-hand witness, I promise there was no squealing. I think it was probably nice for hear to hear from a genuine fan rather than journalists who kept making weird barbs about her age. WTF was up with that room???

abstew said...

(gasp) i'm so happy for you! how exciting!
hopefully the next time it will be that one on one interview or, you know, just chillin' with your new bestie, michelle.

Karen said...

How awesome for you!

Anonymous said...

We are all very jealous, as you can see.But is she soo perfect in person as in the movies? And if you yhink that this point if she has any chance to win the Oscar.

NATHANIEL R said...

having seen her twice in person now I can assure you she is luminous and breathtaking offscreen as well.

and she looks exactly the same offscreen (those huge shocking blue slightly bloodshot eyes. so awesome)

but she is definitely an older woman now. wrinkles and all -- her forehead moved and had wrinkles if you must know ;) -- and she credited the makeup people with making her look more beautiful than she actually is which was a generous no nonsense thing to do. She also says she looks worse than we see her inbetween projects when she isn't as strict about diet and exercize.

BUT SHE'S STILL BEAUTIFUL. i wanted to slap the journalist in the room who kept talking about "losing your looks" and "all the other actresses are younger than you... how will you get parts?" blah blah blah ARGH.

fer chrissakes. a) most people don't look as good at 20 as Pfeiffer does at 50. and b) Pfeiffer is not going to be up for the same parts at 20 and 30somethings anymore. duh.

NATHANIEL R said...

ANYWAY. i'll shut up now. i obviously feel protective of her ;)

re: The Oscar. We'll see how the season goes. If it's a heavily competitive year (like, oh, 1995) I'd be very very surprised to see her win. If it's not (like say 2003) i'd say it's possible. I guess what i'm really hoping is that she'll be nominated so that maybe she'll be more motivated to get back in the game and then if she follows it up with another dramatic role then maybe the win?
lots of IFs.

Derreck said...

i'm sooooooo jealous! :)

but i laughed myself silly reading your experience. If it was Kidman, i would be the same way. I would be too happy to meet her, but i would probably manage to scare her with all my screams, squeals and incoherent babbling.

i wish i got into NYU so i could actually be in the same place as all these great people like Pfeiffer and Kidman. *sigh*

it would be too fortunate to have them come here in my home of the Bahamas or at my University of Miami....

petra said...

I interviewed Kidman for a newspaper once.

She had to call an ambulance five minutes into the interview.

It was for a German paper. I don't think she will ever come back to Germany.

Mahmoud said...

I'm really happy for you !
Good luck meeting more goddesses !

SusanP said...

Awesome, Nat! I feel like I should send you a bottle of champagne or something ;)

Wayne B. said...

Wow, congratulations! How did your heart not stop? You probably made her feel great too getting a compliment like that especially whilst she was having to deal with some tasteless and obviously clueless journalists.
I've never understood this whole age-ism (too many "-isms" if you ask me). So what, at the age of fifty all our vitality and attractiveness goes out the window?
It's moved so far away from the old teachings that advanced age is a sign of wisdom, strength, beauty and deserving of respect.

Murtada said...

Can't wait to read more from you about "Cheri".

Where's the Streep column we've been promised? I've checking the site several times a day for it. Has Pfeiffer pulled you away from La Streep?

Victor S said...

Really happy for you!!
Next step: Meryl Streep or Julianne Moore??

Kyle said...

What event was this? Why were you there? Why was she there? I'm not getting the context for all of this.

Jim T said...

I'm so happy for you! You did great! She now knows that you exist and that you love her! I wouldn't want anything more if I were you!

This time I can be happy. I can't be happy for the time you talked to Kate! I'm just totally envious about that! :p

NATHANIEL R said...

Murtada the next Streep column should be up in about an hour or two. I'm almost done.

i know i'm slow. can't be helped.

i can't apologize anymore. y'all will have to just wait for them to show up ;)

Christine said...

How wonderful, Nat! (The Story of Us, btw, is my favorite of her movies.)

Pablete said...

We are all very happy for you, Nathaniel! The little details in life seem to make it go much more swimmingly!

One day, you might end up writing a book regarding Michelle Pfeiffer. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Is la Pfeiffer still your favorite actress, Nathaniel? since you've already met her and talked to her...

NATHANIEL R said...

anon not sure what you mean. She's always been my favorite actress... well always since the late 80s ;)

my 10 favorite living/working actresses in no particular order
La Pfeiffer, The Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicki Kidman, TILDA, The Winslet, DENEUVE, Holly and a couple of rotating spots for whoever I'm most pleased with at the moment.

my favorite living but mostly retired actresses ... or i think of them as retired in the larger Silver Screen Career sense:
LA LIZ, deHAVILLAND, FONDA, TURNER, CHRISTIE, WEIST (though I'm super happy that she's making her way back) and ANDREWS

kel said...

I'm bursting with envy. Can't wait to hear more. I really hope she signs onto her next project soon. I can't wait another five years. Painful.

I'm tired of journalists going on and on about her age and asking either: a. How she keeps looking so fabulous at her 'OLD' age or b. How she is dealing with the lack of parts for old(er) women. I'm sure she's sick of it too. If age must be mentioned, I say it be mandatory to be mentioned first, and not uttered again.

On another note, Pfeiffs look unbelievably gorgeous on the cover of the new InStyle! Sure sure airbrush, photoshop, blah blah blah... I bet she looks even more gorgeous in real life. ;)

Cluster Funk said...

What a lovely experience for you! Pfeiffer sounds as sublime in person as she is on screen -- wrinkles and all.

I still can't fathom how utterly tacky and tone-deaf (manners-wise) many journalists are. Isn't it protocol to be attuned and diplomatic with their interview subjects? It's like their idiots from the planet dumb.

vince said...

delicious! CONGRATULATIONS! Reap the fruit!

dinasztie said...

I really envy you, Michelle Pfeiffer is such a great actress. :-)
About the Oscar: Isn't she good enough in Chéri to win (which I really doubt) or isn't the movie good enough? I haven't seen it, but I'm really curious. I am really rooting for her, she's been robbed of the award twice (in 1988 and 1989), she should really win. Many people have already said she gave an Oscar-worhty performance.

Glenn Dunks said...

Wow, that's truly something! She sounds so nice, too.

Arkaan said...

At the very least, Nathaniel, you've provided her a cocktail party story for many years to come.

But definitely very cool.

I think journalists in general try not to coddle the people they interview - the "hard-hitting/no bull" line of questioning. Of course, diplomacy isn't bullshit, but I'm sure some think it is.

NATHANIEL R said...

Arkaan... the exceptionally weird thing about yesterday was that most of the time when I go to these things it's always sucking up to the celebrities. Generally the press only seem vicious at those festival conferences where a good portion of the people are actually cinephiles/critics as opposed to merely journalists on assignment.

(though sometimes those people suck up too. There was a lot of sucking up at the Changeling press conference last year in a room filled with cinephiles)

So it was weird in this context to have people saying things like 'is that strange to be playing someone losing your looks while you're losing your looks? did they not show you naked because they don't want to look at an older women's body?' and weirder still that these rude questions were never asked in anything resembling a vicious tone (the journalists actually seemed to think they were asking totally acceptable questions in totally acceptable ways). JUST NO TACT.

She handled it all with grace... and I'm NOT saying that because I'm a devoted fan. She really did. She didn't seem flustered or even tense/nervous the way she often seems in televised interviews.

and she was wonderfully nonchalant about the indelicacy of the questions. my favorite part was the shrug about younger actresses being more in demand 'they'll be 50 someday, too'

adelutza said...

I can't believe someone would ask anybody something like that. Incredible.I can understand why she was always against interviews, being always asked about her looks instead of her acting. I just hope whe will keep on doing films and forget about these people.
In any case, it is very weird as in all the clips we see on ET or Access Hollywood the reporters always keep saying how good she is looking and how she hasn't changed at all and so on.

Anonymous said...

So stupid questions...I am happy to hear that she handled it with grace. cool!

morrissey said...

MY GOD!!!! I"M SERIOUSLY JEALOUS!!!!!!!!!MAN!!! U're sooo lucky!

pp2006 said...

Congrats! You're so lucky to see her so up close, let alone talk to her!

Michelle Pfeiffer and Catheirne Deneuve are my favourite actress. Actually, will you be writing about Deneuve soon- she seems to be the least mentioned out of your top 10.

kel said...

'They'll be 50 one day too"

Great answer!

Again, I'm totally jealous. I would give both big toes to be close to her, even if it's just one glance.

NATHANIEL R said...

kel don't give up your big toes. I believe they're important for balance. which you need in the presence of astounding beauty.

even at the OLD* age of 50 ha ha.


(*50 aint as old as it used to be obviously)

kel said...

Not sure I'd be capable of keeping balance even with both big toes when in presence of such beauty. ;p



Pshhh, 50 is a spring chicken! ;)

Ryan said...

sigh.

it's moments like these that give me hope in life; wonderful things happening to wonderful (and deserving) people.

im so happy for you Nathaniel!

and it is indeed great to have her back.

MB said...

Good for you Nathaniel!I've only been reading the film experience for a few weeks and i'm already well aware of your love for the Pfeiffer.

Cal said...

I'm really thrilled for you.

It sounds like it couldn't have gone much better, since she answered your question and personally connected with your adoration of her. Way to go!

Kebumen said...

thanks.Nice post