Mask


2h 1985

Brief Synopsis

A lady biker and her deformed son try to lead normal lives.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Máscara
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Drama
Biography
Release Date
1985

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Synopsis

True story of a single mother and her struggle to raise her teenage son who was born with a severe facial disfigurement.

Crew

Howard Alston

Coproducer

G Anderson

Song

Gene Barge

Song

The Beatles

Song Performer

Walter Becker

Song

Bruce Bell

Sound Editor

Robert A Blackwell

Song

Edwin J Bocage

Song

Gary U S Bongs

Song Performer

Marilyn Raye Bradfield

Technical Advisor

Chris Carpenter

Sound

Sherry Caudle

Makeup

Crew Chamberlain

Sound

Mike Chapman

Song

Robert E Chase

Costumes

Nicky Chinn

Song

Lucy Coldsnow-smith

Sound Editor

Tommy Cole

Makeup

Albert Collins

Song

Sandra Culotta

Costumes

Robert J Decinces

Set Decorator

John M. Elliott Jr.

Makeup

Katy Emde

Assistant Director

Robert E. Engelman

Assistant Director

Donald Fagen

Song

April Ferry

Costume Supervisor

Steve Foley

Production Assistant

Barbara Ford

Editor

Michael H Ford

Sound Editor

Jerry Garcia

Song

Eva Gardos

Executive Editor

The Grateful Dead

Song Performer

Frank Guido

Song

Gil Hudson

Adr Editor

Robert Hunter

Song

Dick Hyman

Song Performer

Dick Hyman

Song

Rosalyn Inzerella

Production Coordinator

John Kay

Song

Edward King

Song

Laszlo Kovacs

Director Of Photography

Dorothy Labostrie

Song

John Lennon

Song

Dan Lester

Special Effects

Little Richard

Song Performer

Little Richard

Song

John Marascalco

Song

Lisa Marmon

Assistant Director

Jackie Martin

Animal Trainer

P Matthews

Song

Paul Mccartney

Song

Bob Minkler

Sound

Rushton Moreve

Song

George Morfogen

Associate Producer

Norman Newberry

Art Director

Chris Norman

Song Performer

Eddie Paul

Stunt Coordinator

Anna Hamilton Phelan

Screenplay

Leo Price

Song

Suzi Quatro

Song Performer

Dennis Ricotta

Music Editor

Peggy Robertson

Associate Producer

Gary Rossington

Song

Joseph Royster

Song

Rony Scarano

Costume Supervisor

Marla Denise Schlom

Costume Supervisor

Bob Seger

Song

Bob Seger

Song Performer

Sam Shaw

Sound Editor

John M Stacy

Sound Editor

Bruce Stambler

Sound Editor

Martin Starger

Producer

Robert M Stevens

Camera Operator

David Thomas

Location Manager

Ronnie Van Zant

Song

William Watkins

Unit Production Manager

Ray West

Sound

Keith Wester

Sound

Michael Westmore

Makeup

Ron Windred

Location Manager

Film Details

Also Known As
Máscara
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Drama
Biography
Release Date
1985

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Award Wins

Best Makeup

1985

Articles

Mask


By Hollywood standards, Peter Bogdanovich was riding about as high as you can get in the early 1970s. After directing a remarkably inventive, no-budget thriller called Targets (1968), Bogdanovich graduated to the majors with The Last Picture Show (1971), one of the more evocative ruminations on small-town American life ever committed to film. Then came the popular screwball comedy, What's Up, Doc? (1972), and the Howard Hawks-inspired Depression-era road picture, Paper Moon (1973). Bogdanovich even joined Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin in forming a company that would give them complete control and financing for any pictures they wanted to make. In other words, the studios could go to hell.

Then something went terribly wrong. Bogdanovich's reportedly enormous ego, a very public breakup with his wife, financial problems, and a couple of irredeemable box office bombs starring his semi-talented new squeeze, Cybil Shepherd, all helped turn the boy genius into a laughingstock within the film community. A major round of industry schadenfreude ensued. It was something of a shock, then, when Bogdanovich scored a critical and commercial hit with a 1985 tear-jerker called Mask. The film may have done well at the box office, and it may have helped solidify Cher's standing as a legitimate screen actress, but it was far from a breeze for Bogdanovich to make. In fact, by the time it was completed, he had alienated an entire film studio, and Cher was willing to tell anyone within earshot that she hated his guts. His resurgence would turn out to be short-lived.

Mask is based on the true story of Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), an exceptionally kind, sensitive teenager who suffers from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, a condition in which calcium forms on the skull and causes it to grow to an unsightly, abnormal size. Rocky's mother, Rusty, is a classic drug-abusing "biker chick" who hangs out with a bunch of motorcyclists led by Gar (Sam Elliott). When Rocky isn't busy watching after his selfish mother, he attempts to live a normal life. One of Rocky's goals in life is to meet a girl who will fall in love with him despite his disfigurement, and he gets the chance when he meets Diana (Laura Dern), a beautiful blind girl. This character study is especially successful when you consider that Stoltz, who is covered in facial prosthetics, has to convey his emotions via his eyes. He and Cher both give beautifully measured performances.

Screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan claimed to have written the original version of Mask's script with an 8 x 10 photograph of Cher on the wall for inspiration, so it's fortuitous that Cher eventually wanted to play Rusty. She later recalled her initial, highly emotional reaction to Phelan's screenplay: "I got the script along with this really wonderful letter from (producer) Marty Starger saying that they (Starger and Bogdanovich) wanted me for the movie and they hoped I liked the script as much as they did. So I went upstairs and started to read it and when I was halfway through I was so upset that I went right to the ending, and I was a mess. Then I went back to the middle, finished it, and I mean, I was hysterical. I cried and I cried. From the moment I read it, it just seemed very real." Bogdanovich felt Cher was perfect for the part. "(Rusty) had to be free, outspoken, tough," he later said, "but also a lot more vulnerable than she lets on, which I think is also true of Cher."

Bogdanovich may have seen a connection between his star and the character she was going to play, but that still didn't stop him from trying to choreograph her every move. Cher claimed that the director would go into great detail over how she should play every scene, then she'd simply ignore him and do it her way. "Peter Bogdanovich was my worst," she said years later, while discussing the directors she's worked with. "At the time, I was so unsure of myself, and he wasn't very nice. One day he said, 'Just remember, this movie isn't about the woman. It's about a boy. I can cut you out.' I thought, 'I'm going to take that information and just stash it, and get real, real tough.' And I did."

That wasn't the only Mask-related struggle Bogdanovich had to endure. The real-life Rocky Dennis was a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, as is Bogdanovich, and the director badly wanted to use several of the Boss's songs on the soundtrack. But Universal Pictures and Columbia Records couldn't come to an agreement on how much the songs would cost, so some Bob Seger tunes were inserted instead. Bogdanovich was furious. He quickly began to badmouth his own movie to the press, stating that the exclusion of Springsteen's tunes, and the studio's removal of a couple of scenes without his consent, botched the entire enterprise. (Springsteen is certainly a far more gifted and powerful performer than Seger is, but, frankly, music doesn't play a very significant role in the movie.) Cher couldn't have disagreed more with Bogdanovich, and was happy to say so - on the record . "I'm not surprised Peter would serve his own interests before serving the picture's," she said when the movie was released. "He asked me (not to promote it) and boycott everything. I said, 'You should get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars that I'm doing this, because one of us has to. This is a good movie.'" As for the missing scenes: "The one scene he keeps talking about is my scene. If I can live without it, he should be able to live without it." Bogdanovich made a few big-screen pictures after Mask, although they all bombed. He's better known these days for a recurring role as a psychoanalyst on The Sopranos. His most recent directorial effort is Hustle (2004), a poorly-received Pete Rose biopic that he made for ESPN. Cher isn't in it.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Screenplay: Anna Hamilton Phelan
Producer: Martin Starger, Howard Alston
Cinematography: Laszlo Kovacs
Editing: Barbara Ford
Production Design: Norman Newberry
Set Design: Richard J. de Cinces
Makeup: Tom Cole, Zoltan Elek, John M. Elliot, Jr., Michael Westmore
Cast: Cher (Rusty Dennis), Sam Elliott (Gar), Eric Stoltz (Rocky Dennis), Estelle Getty (Evelyn), Richard Dysart (Abe), Laura Dern (Diana), Micole Mercurio (Babe), Harry Carey, Jr. (Red), Dennis Burkley (Dozer), Lawrence Monoson (Ben), Les Dudek (Bone).
C-120m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Paul Tatara

Mask

Mask

By Hollywood standards, Peter Bogdanovich was riding about as high as you can get in the early 1970s. After directing a remarkably inventive, no-budget thriller called Targets (1968), Bogdanovich graduated to the majors with The Last Picture Show (1971), one of the more evocative ruminations on small-town American life ever committed to film. Then came the popular screwball comedy, What's Up, Doc? (1972), and the Howard Hawks-inspired Depression-era road picture, Paper Moon (1973). Bogdanovich even joined Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin in forming a company that would give them complete control and financing for any pictures they wanted to make. In other words, the studios could go to hell. Then something went terribly wrong. Bogdanovich's reportedly enormous ego, a very public breakup with his wife, financial problems, and a couple of irredeemable box office bombs starring his semi-talented new squeeze, Cybil Shepherd, all helped turn the boy genius into a laughingstock within the film community. A major round of industry schadenfreude ensued. It was something of a shock, then, when Bogdanovich scored a critical and commercial hit with a 1985 tear-jerker called Mask. The film may have done well at the box office, and it may have helped solidify Cher's standing as a legitimate screen actress, but it was far from a breeze for Bogdanovich to make. In fact, by the time it was completed, he had alienated an entire film studio, and Cher was willing to tell anyone within earshot that she hated his guts. His resurgence would turn out to be short-lived. Mask is based on the true story of Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), an exceptionally kind, sensitive teenager who suffers from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, a condition in which calcium forms on the skull and causes it to grow to an unsightly, abnormal size. Rocky's mother, Rusty, is a classic drug-abusing "biker chick" who hangs out with a bunch of motorcyclists led by Gar (Sam Elliott). When Rocky isn't busy watching after his selfish mother, he attempts to live a normal life. One of Rocky's goals in life is to meet a girl who will fall in love with him despite his disfigurement, and he gets the chance when he meets Diana (Laura Dern), a beautiful blind girl. This character study is especially successful when you consider that Stoltz, who is covered in facial prosthetics, has to convey his emotions via his eyes. He and Cher both give beautifully measured performances. Screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan claimed to have written the original version of Mask's script with an 8 x 10 photograph of Cher on the wall for inspiration, so it's fortuitous that Cher eventually wanted to play Rusty. She later recalled her initial, highly emotional reaction to Phelan's screenplay: "I got the script along with this really wonderful letter from (producer) Marty Starger saying that they (Starger and Bogdanovich) wanted me for the movie and they hoped I liked the script as much as they did. So I went upstairs and started to read it and when I was halfway through I was so upset that I went right to the ending, and I was a mess. Then I went back to the middle, finished it, and I mean, I was hysterical. I cried and I cried. From the moment I read it, it just seemed very real." Bogdanovich felt Cher was perfect for the part. "(Rusty) had to be free, outspoken, tough," he later said, "but also a lot more vulnerable than she lets on, which I think is also true of Cher." Bogdanovich may have seen a connection between his star and the character she was going to play, but that still didn't stop him from trying to choreograph her every move. Cher claimed that the director would go into great detail over how she should play every scene, then she'd simply ignore him and do it her way. "Peter Bogdanovich was my worst," she said years later, while discussing the directors she's worked with. "At the time, I was so unsure of myself, and he wasn't very nice. One day he said, 'Just remember, this movie isn't about the woman. It's about a boy. I can cut you out.' I thought, 'I'm going to take that information and just stash it, and get real, real tough.' And I did." That wasn't the only Mask-related struggle Bogdanovich had to endure. The real-life Rocky Dennis was a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, as is Bogdanovich, and the director badly wanted to use several of the Boss's songs on the soundtrack. But Universal Pictures and Columbia Records couldn't come to an agreement on how much the songs would cost, so some Bob Seger tunes were inserted instead. Bogdanovich was furious. He quickly began to badmouth his own movie to the press, stating that the exclusion of Springsteen's tunes, and the studio's removal of a couple of scenes without his consent, botched the entire enterprise. (Springsteen is certainly a far more gifted and powerful performer than Seger is, but, frankly, music doesn't play a very significant role in the movie.) Cher couldn't have disagreed more with Bogdanovich, and was happy to say so - on the record . "I'm not surprised Peter would serve his own interests before serving the picture's," she said when the movie was released. "He asked me (not to promote it) and boycott everything. I said, 'You should get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars that I'm doing this, because one of us has to. This is a good movie.'" As for the missing scenes: "The one scene he keeps talking about is my scene. If I can live without it, he should be able to live without it." Bogdanovich made a few big-screen pictures after Mask, although they all bombed. He's better known these days for a recurring role as a psychoanalyst on The Sopranos. His most recent directorial effort is Hustle (2004), a poorly-received Pete Rose biopic that he made for ESPN. Cher isn't in it. Director: Peter Bogdanovich Screenplay: Anna Hamilton Phelan Producer: Martin Starger, Howard Alston Cinematography: Laszlo Kovacs Editing: Barbara Ford Production Design: Norman Newberry Set Design: Richard J. de Cinces Makeup: Tom Cole, Zoltan Elek, John M. Elliot, Jr., Michael Westmore Cast: Cher (Rusty Dennis), Sam Elliott (Gar), Eric Stoltz (Rocky Dennis), Estelle Getty (Evelyn), Richard Dysart (Abe), Laura Dern (Diana), Micole Mercurio (Babe), Harry Carey, Jr. (Red), Dennis Burkley (Dozer), Lawrence Monoson (Ben), Les Dudek (Bone). C-120m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Co-Winner of the Best Actress Award (Cher) at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

Released in United States Spring March 8, 1985

Re-released in United States on Video April 11, 1995

Formerly distributed by MCA Home Video.

Began shooting May 1, 1984.

Laura Dern was awarded a special "New Generation" citation by the 1985 Los Angeles Film Critics for her performance.

Released in United States Spring March 8, 1985

Re-released in United States on Video April 11, 1995