IN FRENCH EXIT, Michelle Pfeiffer plays an aging Manhattan socialite (Frances Price) living on what’s barely left of her inheritance. She moves to a small apartment in Paris with her son (Malcolm Price played by Lucas Hedges) and a cat. Pfeiffer has just been nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress in a musical
As a mother, do you share any similarities with your character?
There aren’t many similarities to my parenting. Maybe now the older that they are I’m really enjoying a friendship and a connection on an adult level and I think that Frances has always been like that with Malcolm. I’m not sure she was ever that nurturing hover-crafting mother I probably was more like.
As far as finances are concerned, do you feel you are a good negotiator? And what item would you spend most money on?
I think you can get a pretty decent bottle of wine for, I don’t know, $50 or $30. I think you can get, but I haven’t had delicious wine that costs a lot more than that. I’m kind of shrewd. I think I’m a good negotiator. The thing about negotiation is you have to be willing to walk away. If you’re willing to walk away, then it puts you in a pretty good position so I’m not sure I would spend that much on a bottle of wine.
Has your lifestyle changed as far as spending money on pampering yourself is concerned?
I’m realising how little I really need in life, and how little I really want. And how easy it is to get caught up in the trappings of thinking you need things or thinking you want more stuff. I think at the end of the day we are realising that it’s just more stuff. And we are really realising what matters is that we haven’t been able to have those relationships and those connections with people. And I think ultimately that’s going to be a very good thing that comes out of the recent past. And there’s this sense of really looking out for each other and people looking out for you. I’ve never really had what most people have, the stereotypical idea of what luxury is. For me what’s luxurious is having a great new pair of boots, (laughs) that makes my day. So, I’m pretty simple with my needs.
Did you ever struggle for money?
I haven’t been in a situation where I was broke but I have been in a position where I had to really watch my finances when I first moved to Los Angeles when I started out in the industry and I mean it’s really tempting because you get this big cheque when you do a project but then you could go for a year or more without working so you have to really learn to pace yourself which is not always easy for young people.
At this stage of success in your life, do you feel that you have to give back to society?
I’ve always felt that it’s important to get up in the morning and have purpose in whatever you do and that you’re contributing and giving back to the world. And I certainly feel that, and I consider that with the choices that I make, I’m sending out positive energy into the world and adding to that and not taking away from it. So I do realise how much of an impact film has in the world, it’s a very powerful medium and so I’m always mindful of that.
How do you keep negativity away?
Most of the bad vibes are mine because I’m really hard on myself and I overthink everything, that’s just been my nature. I hate to admit it, but I think my nature is a half-empty-glass kind of person. At the same time, I do feel like I’m hopeful and so it’s a bit complicated, I think I’m my own worst enemy. So, I have to watch out for myself.