It takes two to tango: Gabrielle Anwar recalls memorable Scent of a Woman scene
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Al Pacino made his name in Hollywood with The Godfather, but the eight-time nominee’s one and only Oscar win came from his larger-than-life turn in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman.
A blind and suicidal Army veteran, Pacino’s Frank Slade ends up bonding with his reluctant caretaker, a prep-school student (Chris O’Donnell) whom he teaches to seize the day. Case in point: a memorable scene in which Frank confidently asks a gorgeous young stranger, played by a 19-year-old Gabrielle Anwar (Burn Notice, Once Upon a Time), to tango in the middle of a restaurant.
“It wasn’t something that I thought would become an Academy Award-winning performance for Pacino or would have such an effect on my career,” says Anwar, who explains that she went through a yearlong audition process that ultimately resulted in two days of work and became just seven minutes of the film.
However, after weeks of tango lessons, Anwar never actually rehearsed with Pacino. “I always thought that was really odd until quite recently when Chris told me that it was because [Pacino] wanted to keep a spontaneity and a freshness to the dance,” the actress says.
While Anwar has been asked to tango by numerous strangers since, no trip around the dance floor will ever compare to the thrill of the original. “It was a very romantic situation,” she says. “We were filming at [New York’s Pierre hotel], and it was just very fantastical.”