An audience booed the moderator of the Tribeca Film Festival Thursday night after he asked Michelle Pfeiffer how much she weighed during the 1983 film “Scarface.”
Pfeiffer appeared at the festival with “Scarface” stars Al Pacino, Steven Bauer and film director Brian De Palma to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the film when she was asked the question by moderator Jesse Kornbluth, Entertainment Weekly reported.
“Michelle, as the father of a daughter, I’m concerned with body image,” Kornbluth asked. “The preparation for this film — what did you weigh?”
The audience immediately booed the question with somebody yelling out, “Why do you want to know?”
“This is not the question you think it is,” Kornbluth shot back.
Pfeiffer explained she was playing a cocaine addict in her breakout role as Elvira, which explained her thin frame.
“I don’t know, but I was playing a cocaine addict so that was part of the physicality of the part, which you have to consider," Pfeiffer said. "The movie was only supposed to be, what? A three-month, four-month [shoot]? Of course, I tried to time it so that as the movie went on I became thinner and thinner and more emaciated.”
Pfeiffer said the shoot went on for six months and toward the end, she was “starving.”
“The problem was the movie went six months,” she said. “I was starving by the end of it because the one scene that was the end of the film where I needed to be my thinnest, it was [pushed to the] next week and then it was the next week and then it was the next week. I literally had members of the crew bringing me bagels because they were all worried about me and how thin I was getting. I think I was living on tomato soup and Marlboros.”
The three-time Academy Award-nominated actress said she has received questions about what her iconic "Scarface" character’s message is to other women.
“The other thing about Elvira,” she noted, “is that — because I remember at the time, even then — I got a lot of questions about, ‘You’re playing someone who’s subservient. What message is that sending to women?’ And I was also in my early 20s; I hadn’t actually thought about it a lot of the time. Being an artist, it’s really presenting to people what is the truth and not sugarcoated, and I felt that by allowing people to observe who this character is and the sacrifices that she’s made said more than getting up on any soapbox and preaching to people.”