The Scarface reunion at the Tribeca Film Festival took a wrong turn when Michelle Pfeiffer was asked about her weight, spurring the crowd into boos.
The 1983 cult classic is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a special screening at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, April 19. Held at the Beacon Theater, the event was capped off with stars Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, and director Brian De Palma taking the stage for a reunion panel.
Moderator Asks About Star's Weight
While the crowd enjoyed the star-studded reunion — cheering as Pacino reenacted his famous "say hello to my little friend" line — moderator Jesse Kornbluth found himself in hot water with the fans when he asked Pfeiffer a poorly phrased question about her weight in the film.
"As the father of a daughter, I'm concerned with body image," Kornbluth says, addressing the actress, according to Hollywood Reporter. "[During] the preparation for this film, what did you weigh?"
The question quickly prompted boos and jeers from the fans in the audience with a few even shouting their protest at the insensitive query, asking why weight is important. Kornbluth tries to stave off the displeasure by clarifying that the inquiry was not what the audience thinks it is.
Pfeiffer, 59, answers gracefully, pointing out that she was playing a drug-dependent character.
"Well, okay. I don't know," she responds, seemingly a little thrown by the question. "But I was playing a cocaine addict, which was part of the physicality of the part, which you have to consider."
She goes on to talk about the struggle of juggling her weight for the movie, saying that one of the issues that arose was the length of filming. Production was only supposed to be three to four months, the actress explains, saying that one important scene was pushed later and later.
"Of course I tried to time it so that as the movie went on, I became thinner and thinner and more emaciated," Pfeiffer continues. "The problem was the movie went six months. I was starving by the end of it because the one scene, which was the end of the film, where I needed to be my thinnest, it was next week and then it was next week and then it was the next week."
The actress recalls the crew handing her bagels out of their concern at her shrinking weight.
"I think I was living on tomato soup and Marlboros," she says.
Kornbluth Issues Statement
The moderator, who received considerable backlash from the incident, issued his defense in an email to IndieWire that slams the double standard when it comes to weight-related inquiries.
"It is true that a gentleman should never ask a woman about her weight. But that was not my question," Kornbluth states. "It is a comment on the knee-jerk political correctness of our time that no one would be shocked if you asked Robert De Niro about the weight gain required for his role in Raging Bull but you get booed — not by many, but by a vocal few — for asking Michelle Pfeiffer about the physical two-dimensionality required for her to play a cocaine freak in Scarface."