"I did! I shamelessly called him. 'Give me a job after 20 years.' I know, it was really horrible. It's not done. And I don't think I would have had the courage, but I was working with a mutual friend, and she knew how much I wanted to be in this movie and she kept egging me on to call him because I don't think I would have had the courage to do it," the 54-year-old actress told reporters at a news conference in Los Angeles to promote the film's theatrical release in May.
"At that point, I don't even know if there was a script, really, so I didn't even know if there was a part for me, and it had been so long since I'd seen the series I didn't even remember ... I just said, 'If there's anything, I want to throw my hat in the ring.' And then I hung up and thought, 'I'll never hear from him again.' But I did," recalled the star of "Hairspray," "Dangerous Minds," "One Fine Day," "The Fabulous Baker Boys," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Married to the Mob," "Grease 2" and "Scarface."
Burton, sitting alongside Pfeiffer at the news conference, said he was delighted to hear from the actress decades after he directed her as the whip-wielding villain Catwoman in the 1992 Caped Crusader flick. He said he quickly found a role for her in his big-screen adaptation of the gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows."
Set in a gloomy seaside mansion in 1970s Maine, the film casts Pfeiffer as the matriarch of the once-prosperous Collins family, the remaining members of which enjoy a reversal of fortune with the arrival of a 200-year-old vampire relative, played by Johnny Depp.
"[It was a] long time ago, but it just flooded back, because I never watched the movie again, but it sort of flooded back, like how impressed I remember being with Michelle," Burton said of reuniting with Pfeiffer so long after working with her on "Batman Returns. "You know, she learned how to use a whip and jump around on roofs in high-heeled shoes, birds fly out of her mouth, cats eat her -- very impressive stuff. So, it was a real joy to get a call from Michelle and find out she was a closet 'Dark Shadows fan.' I knew she was weird, but it confirmed the whole situation, which was great, because between Michelle and Johnny, we were the only ones on the cast that knew 'Dark Shadows.' I don't know if I showed it to anybody else, because you can't really show 'Dark Shadows' to anybody else that doesn't know it because they'd probably run screaming out of the room. So it was nice that Michelle played the head of the family, and it just made me realize how much I enjoyed working with her."
"Dark Shadows" is now on DVD and Blu-ray.