Movie Fact #107 - December 2nd, 2020

 

In the 1989 film The Fabulous Baker Boys, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Susie Diamond, a role that many heavy-hitting actresses of the time were considered for including Madonna, Debra Winger, Brooke Shields, Jodie Foster, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Director/writer Steve Kloves ultimately went with Pfeiffer, quoting "Michelle is the icing on the cake. Her Susie Diamond is right on the mark--and she is a wonderful singer. Michelle is an actress with unlimited range." Pfeiffer was never a professionally trained singer (Despite having already sung on-screen in her cinematic debut, 1982's Grease 2). For her role as Susie, she started taking voice lessons two months before filming commenced. Her vocal coach, Sally Stevens, commended her dedication:

"She was singing these songs in a very exposed way--no strings or lush orchestrations to hide behind, just a piano. She worked ten hours a day in the studio and then took the tapes home with her to study them."

In preparation for the most famous scene performed by her in the film, a rendition of "Makin' Whoopee" atop a grand piano that took six hours to film, Pfeiffer only had one choreography lesson, and wore knee and elbow pads during rehearsals. Ultimately, Pfeiffer would go on to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards and the role is now one of her most famous. Safe to say, Kloves made the right choice. Stay tuned!

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