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Michelle Pfeiffer says she turned down The Silence of the Lambs because of ‘evil’ script

Actor was first choice for role that ultimately won Jodie Foster an Oscar

Adam White
Tuesday 02 February 2021 08:48
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Michelle Pfeiffer has revealed she turned down “evil” thriller The Silence of the Lambs as she was “uncomfortable” with its storyline.

Pfeiffer was famously the first choice for the role of FBI agent Clarice Starling in the seminal 1991 horror movie, with Jodie Foster eventually winning an Oscar for the part. Anthony Hopkins also starred in the film as serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter.

The film would have marked a reunion between Pfeiffer and director Jonathan Demme, as the pair worked together three years prior on the comedy Married to the Mob. Pfeiffer has now said passing on the part was one of her biggest professional regrets, as she never got to work again with Demme, who died in 2017.

“With Silence of the Lambs, I was trepidatious,” Pfeiffer told The New Yorker. “There was such evil in that film. The thing I most regret is missing the opportunity to do another film with Jonathan.”

Asked whether the film’s script was “too malevolent”, Pfeiffer explained that she didn’t like the message of the movie.

Read more: Silence of the Lambs’ Clarice Starling returns in first trailer for sequel TV series

“It was that evil won in the end, that at the end of that film evil ruled out,” she said. “I was uncomfortable with that ending. I didn’t want to put that out into the world.”

Michelle Pfeiffer in 2019, and Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs

Pfeiffer, who next stars in the surreal comedy French Exit, famously turned down or was unavailable for a number of iconic roles in the early Nineties.

She was unable to star in Thelma & Louise due to scheduling conflicts with another project, and also rejected the starring roles in Pretty Woman and Basic Instinct. They ultimately made stars of Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone, respectively.

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