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That Disastrous ‘Scarface’ Discussion Was Supposed to Have a Different Moderator, but Brian De Palma ‘Kicked Him Off’

Brian Koppelman says a comment he made about De Palma 10 years ago led to him being relieved of his moderating duties.

Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian De Palma, Al Pacino. From left to right, actor Steven Bauer, actress Michelle Pfeiffer, director Brian De Palma and actor Al Pacino attend a 35th anniversary screening "Scarface" at the Beacon Theatre during 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, in New York2018 Tribeca Film Festival - "Scarface" 35th Anniversary Screening, New York, USA - 19 Apr 2018

Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian De Palma, and Al Pacino

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Scarface” was back in the news this week thanks to a disastrous panel during which Michelle Pfeiffer was asked how much she weighed while filming Brian De Palma’s crime drama. Jesse Kornbluth, who moderated said panel as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, told IndieWire yesterday that his question was intended as a “comment on the knee-jerk political correctness of our time,” arguing that asking Robert De Niro how much weight he gained for “Raging Bull” wouldn’t have stirred any controversy.

Now another strange twist to the story has come to light: Kornbluth wasn’t even supposed to moderate the discussion.

The original host, “Billions” creator/showrunner Brian Koppelman, explained what happened on Twitter after being misreported as having asked Pfeiffer the offending question: “I prepared really hard to do the panel and was really looking forward to it. But someone on here sent DePalma an old quote of mine, and he had me kicked off the panel the morning of the event,” he tweeted.

“I had said, 10 years ago, that he didn’t deserve to be thought of in the same way Scorsese, Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg are. And when I was first asked to do the gig, I warned the people to get DePalma’s approval. They did. And then, at the last minute, he booted me,” Koppelman continued.

“Well, I hope he’s happy with the result. For the record, I think Scarface is a masterpiece. And that Pfeiffer’s performance captured the mood of that place and moment in time better than almost anything or anyone ever. END.”

In addition to clarifying that he wasn’t the moderator, Koppelman also emphasized another point: He never would have asked such a question. “I have interviewed hundreds of people on my podcast. There is zero chance I would have asked Michelle Pfeiffer that question,” he tweeted. “If you’ve ever listened to my pod, you know that.”

IndieWire has reached out to Tribeca for comment.

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