Michelle Pfeiffer is a veteran when it comes to comedies about mob life, having starred in Jonathan Demme’s “Married to the Mob,” which ranks just a tick below “Analyze This” in the pantheon.
“The Family” is a sort of mafia comedy all-star flick, as it stars Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, who famously played boss Paul Vitti in “Analyze This” and its sequel “Analyze That.”
They’re mom and dad in this story of a family escaping the ire of the New York mafia by living in witness protection in Normandy, France.
amNewYork spoke with Pfeiffer about director Luc Besson’s flick, which opens Friday.
What appealed to you about this movie’s vision of mob life? The script was very unpredictable and I think a new take on gangster life — about this gangster family who goes into the witness protection program and the entire family has anger management issues, an inability to actually assimilate.
Was that a new approach? I had never seen that before. It was a very unusual tone of humor and weird, dark comedy and ultimately about family, really. And the lengths that people will go to, to keep that family unit together and protect each other in this really edgy, dark, comedic way.
This is your third movie with De Niro, but the first time you’ve really worked together. What’s he like? He’s one of those actors [who’s] on your bucket list to work with. I was just so excited to work with him. … I think because he’s done so many intense movies and he’s kind of quiet, I thought he might be more kind of reserved. But he was incredibly giving as an actor and generous and present and really fun.
You’ve worked with Tim Burton and other masters of dark material. Are you inherently drawn to it? I always am drawn to it. I don’t know, I guess I’m a little dark, maybe. ... I know it’s not for everyone. Tim Burton is very different, but he has that sort of dark, sweet weird combination. I guess I just like things that are unexpected, that are not run-of-the-mill, that are not formulaic.