Al Pacino reveals origin of iconic catchphrase from Oscar-winning performance

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Al Pacino appeared on Inside the Actors Studio, Sunday, where he revealed the origin of his iconic catchphrase in Scent of a Woman. Pacino won an Oscar for his performance in the film, thanks in small part to his signature exclamation, “Hoo-ah!”

“Hoo-ah!” has been a common exclamation in the U.S. Army for several years. The Los Angeles Times suggested it originated during the Indian Wars of the 1840’s, and was and abridged version of “heard, understood and acknowledged.”

Regardless of the actual origin of “hoo-ah,” Pacino reveal he learned about the term while researching for his role as a retired Army officer. Pacino regularly met with a lieutenant colonel in the Army who showed him how to disassemble and reassemble a .45 pistol in 45 seconds while blind.

Since Pacino’s character was blind, this exercise really resonated with the actor. And when he was finally able to blindly disassemble and reassemble a .45 caliber gun in 45 seconds, he unknowingly unlocked the character’s signature catchphrase as well.

“When I got it right, he looked at me ... [and] he said, "Hoo-ah!" Pacino adopted the exclamation as the signature catchphrase for his character.

Inside the Actors Studio airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on Ovation.

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