Michelle Pfeiffer has a stressed streak. You possibly can spot it in her extensively disparate selection of appearing roles. She was steamy as “Catwoman,” wrenchingly weak in “Dangerous Liaisons” and glamorously debauched in “Scarface.” She was twice exiled, because the social pariah Ruth Madoff in “The Wizard of Lies” and now as an uptown grandee gone broke in “French Exit,” which arrived in theaters this month.
However at 62, Ms. Pfeiffer has stayed put lengthy sufficient to convey up two youngsters along with her husband, the author and producer David E. Kelley, and embark on new initiatives: She performs Betty Ford on the forthcoming Showtime collection “The First Lady,” and she or he has taken on the unlikely function of magnificence entrepreneur.
Three years in the past, she began Henry Rose, a line of gender-neutral perfumes, residence fragrances and salves that bear broodingly evocative names like Fog, Final Gentle and Queens and Monsters. . The latest scent, Home windows Down, a bergamot and citrus-tinged addition, hints on the extra free-spirited, candidly fun-loving aspects of Ms. Pfeiffer’s persona.
Final week, she dropped her reserve to speak concerning the challenges of entrepreneurship, of enjoying a genteelly impoverished society queen, and of discovering the liberty to let down her hair.
I’ve learn that you simply generally put on a perfume that can assist you slip into character. Was that the case with “French Exit”?
On the time we had been taking pictures, we had been enjoying round with a floral. I wore it. I believed my character Frances can be a floral particular person.
However your character is not any sweet-scented dowager.
As we wish to say, this isn’t your grandmother’s floral.
Which a part of you associated to Frances?
I don’t at all times know why I reply to a personality. However I discovered her extremely shifting. Her tragedy is that of somebody insulated by wealth who has by no means realized actual coping expertise. When she has no cash anymore, she doesn’t actually know who she is.
She behaves like a lady with nothing to lose. Did you discover that intriguing?
Frances has at all times behaved that approach. On this scenario she’s a bit delusional. However the factor that almost all excited me is that we spend a lot of our time, no less than I do, attempting to be well mannered. It’s completely exhausting. Frances can’t be bothered.
Was there a time when you turned much less involved with what different individuals suppose?
It’s age-related. The older I received, the extra I let go of these worries. It’s extremely liberating.
How did the idea to your newest perfume come into your head?
I used to be driving, and I rolled my home windows down and felt the nice and cozy summer time air. I felt untethered. It jogged my memory of getting my driver’s license once I was 16, that feeling of, , simply letting go and letting life lead me. The older we get, we simply don’t try this.
Was this scent conceived as a response to an oppressive 12 months?
No. However it’s optimistic. Its introduction simply occurs to coincide with all of us slowly popping out and the sensation that we’re wanting to start out over.
These fragrances fluctuate broadly in character. That are you most drawn to?
I have a tendency towards the darker and richer woody vanilla earthy ones. Torn, my first and a go-to, has a whisper of one thing spicy, a little bit bit woody. My favorites are those which can be complicated.
Movie star fragrances are mentioned to be a troublesome promote. But you launched one with out even putting your title on the label.
I used to be cautioned at the beginning that superstar fragrances weren’t doing effectively, that folks weren’t trusting them. It was necessary to me, as a result of this isn’t a licensing deal, that the model would be capable to stand by itself, that every one the components can be listed on the label. I didn’t wish to develop one thing that relied on my face or superstar.
You’re recognized to be non-public. Did you are feeling pressured to go on Instagram?
I don’t know that I might have began Instagram if I hadn’t launched this model. I are usually very cautious in interviews. I hate doing photograph shoots.
However you might be playful in your feed. In a single put up you really toyed with a whip.
I used to be sitting with a pal in my workplace, and we didn’t know the place the dialog was going. She introduced up the “Catwoman” whip. I advised her, “I believe I’ve it proper right here.” I opened up my closet and there it was, looped over the door. The second regarded ridiculously staged, nevertheless it wasn’t. On social media, you actually management your individual narrative. It means that you can be as goofy as you wish to be.
This interview has been edited.