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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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In What Lies Beneath, opposite Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer finally gets to star in a scary movie Ė one of her favourite genres Ė she tells JENNY COONEY CARILLO. But she also confesses not to be as selfless as her character, when it comes to betrayal.

Michelle Pfeiffer is arguably one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. She has it all Ė a great career, a handsome, successful husband (Ally McBeal and The Practice creator/producer David Kelley) and two children; Claudia, whom she adopted prior to meeting Kelley in 1993 and John, the biological son they had together six years ago. But What Lies Beneath is not only the title of Pfeifferís latest movie, a suspense horror movie directed by Robert (Back to the Future) Zemeckis. It also hints at the dark side lurking underneath the lithesome star with a taste for scary movies and a determination not to ever forgive the man who would dare cheat on her. In What Lies Beneath, the 42-year-old actress plays the wife of a cheating husband (Harrison Ford) who must deal with the mistake that came back to haunt them.

In the movie, your character forgives her husband. What would you do if that happened to you?
Iím not a very forgiving person. I would have a hard time getting over that, I think. If I were genuinely in love with the person, that would be such a violation, such a betrayal. I know people talk about forgiving someone to keep the family together and there is something to be said for keeping the family together, I guess, but Iím not sure I could be that selfless!

An apparition haunts your character. Have you ever seen a ghost? Are you a believer?
I havenít had any proof either way, but I know people who claim to have seen ghosts, lived in houses that were haunted and claim to have had encounters and these are really sane people, not kooks. So since I have no reason to disbelieve them, I guess I tend to be more of a believer than a non-believer but I have no first-hand experience to base this on.

I heard you turned down The Silence of the Lambs because it was too scary. Is that true and if so, then why do this movie and why now?
I didnít turn it down because it was scary Ė I like scary movies. It was because ultimately Hannibal Lecter was the smartest person in the script. He was the evilest person in the script and he won and I had a problem with that. I thought Clarice Starling should have won out in the end and it really didnít sit well with me that evil won out.

So why this movie?
This woman starts out as a very blind, fragile being who wasnít always that way but came to be that way so she could exist in the environment that she created and continued to live in as a lie. Ultimately she is like the phoenix that rises from the ashes. She sort of rises from the lake and in the end sheís a braver, stronger and more independent woman. I liked that character and I also hadnít done the genre before and I really wanted to work with Bob Zemeckis. I want to make good movies and he makes good movies, so in the end I thought it would be something I could be proud of, which I am.

How did you get along with Harrison Ford?
We had a genuinely good time. We worked really hard and heís very funny. He has a very dry kind of quirky sense of humor and it takes a while to figure that out but he likes to tell jokes and that is one of the surprising things about him which I share, because people think Iím also very serious. My nature is pretty serious, actually, but that is because when we both do interviews we are a little uncomfortable and that comes across as serious.

You said you like scary movies. Do you remember the first one you ever saw and what impression it left on you?
Early on, the movie that had the strongest impact on me was The Bad Seed. I was obsessed with that as a child Ė and I mean obsessed. And Iíd comb the TV guide for Frankenstein or Dracula movies. I loved vampire movies and then later on I loved The Birds and then things like The Exorcist and the first Alien. All of those movies were thrilling for me because I always loved scary movies. That is why it is such a treat to be in one.

You look more beautiful than ever. How do you handle all the responsibilities of wife, mother and movie star?
Do I look rested? Actually, I havenít been resting much this weekend at all because of the kids! But Iíve been off work since last December, when I wrapped this movie and so Iím getting some sleep and enjoying the fact that my schedule fits in with my husband and children these days instead of the other way around. Itís been a long time since I havenít had another movie lined up and I guess it is because of all these other great things I have in my life that I make my choices even more carefully today.


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Michelle Pfeiffer
(stevegranitz.com photo)



See Jenny Cooney Carillo's interview with


On set with director Robert Zemeckis & Harrison Ford

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