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Michelle Pfeiffer’s first ever audition was for Robert De Niro classic

Before Michelle Pfeiffer became a household name, she managed to get an audition for a Robert De Niro drama now considered one of the best movies ever made.

Michelle Pfeiffer's first audition was for a classic Robert De Niro movie

We’ve now seen Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro work together numerous times, including on the crime-comedy The Family, but the duo’s history goes back even further than that. In fact, they go all the way back to Pfeiffer’s first ever audition in Hollywood.

De Niro was already established as a leading man by the time Michelle Pfeiffer broke into the movie world with the delightfully unusual double bill of Grease 2 and Scarface. Depending on who you ask, they’re both among the best ’80s movies. But before that one-two punch of new movies, Pfeiffer managed to get herself in a room with the great Robert De Niro.

Pfeiffer’s first audition, against all odds, was for the 1980 movie Raging Bull. Now celebrated by critics as one of the best movies of all time, it won De Niro the Best Actor award at the Oscars. And perhaps it could also have starred Pfeiffer.

“I actually auditioned for Raging Bull, that was when I very first met you… did I ever tell you that?” Pfeiffer told De Niro in an interview with Jake’s Takes about The Family. “It was my very first interview ever, and my agent just sent me on it. It was like ‘go have an experience’, never thinking I would ever get the part , which of course I didn’t. But I always dreamed of working with [De Niro], so I was just very excited.”

Pfeiffer told the same story on The Graham Norton Show, with De Niro confirming that he didn’t remember her from that audition at all. She explained that her subsequent career was full of near-misses with De Niro.

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“We were in Stardust together and I was so excited to be in a movie with Robert De Niro. Then I realized I actually didn’t get to work with Robert De Niro because we had no scenes together,” said Pfeiffer.

“Then we did New Year’s Eve and again I was so excited to be in a movie with him. We once again had no scenes together. Then I got this script [for The Family] and I said to my agent: ‘You know what? If I don’t have a scene with him, I am not reading this.'”

We’re glad Pfeiffer finally got the chance to share the screen with De Niro, even though The Family didn’t exactly get the love that greeted Raging Bull. In fact, The Family was panned by critics and has an approval score of just 28% on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. You wait more than 30 years and then that happens? Ah well, you can’t win ’em all.

For more on two of the best actors around today, find out why one ’80s movie audition left Michelle Pfeiffer humiliated and learn why Robert De Niro had a great time making a massive flop. You can also see what we thought of De Niro’s recent movie with our Killers of the Flower Moon review.