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Michelle Pfeiffer explains why she passed on Silence of the Lambs: "There was such evil in that film"

Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs
(Image credit: IMDb)

Michelle Pfeiffer has explained why she passed on The Silence of the Lambs. The actor was offered the role of Clarice Starling, eventually played by Jodie Foster.

Speaking to The New Yorker, Pfeiffer said: "With Silence of the Lambs, I was trepidatious. There was such evil in that film. The thing I most regret is missing the opportunity to do another film with Jonathan [Demme, director]."

Demme and Pfeiffer had previously worked together for Married to the Mob, which saw Pfeiffer in the lead role of Angela de Marco, a woman trying to escape mafia life after her mobster husband's death. The director passed away in 2017. 

"It was that evil won in the end, that at the end of that film evil ruled out," Pfieffer added. "I was uncomfortable with that ending. I didn’t want to put that out into the world."

It's difficult to imagine anyone but Foster playing Starling in The Silence of the Lambs – though Julianne Moore played the role opposite Hopkins' Lecter in the 2001 film Hannibal.  Pfeiffer is certainly a formidably talented actor, though, so we’re sure she would've made the role her own if the ending hadn't been so off-putting. The film's final scene sees Lecter free from prison and following Dr. Chilton, with the now-iconic line: "I'm having an old friend for dinner."

Silence of the Lambs won five Academy Awards, sweeping the major categories of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. A spinoff series about Starling, fittingly titled Clarice, is on the way with Rebecca Breeds in the titular role. It's due for release February 11, 2021.

Until then, check out our roundup of 2021's movie release dates, and see which spine-chilling scene made the top spot in our ranking of the Silence of the Lambs best moments.

Molly Edwards

I'm a freelance Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for our Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after getting my BA in English.