Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Tagline: They told 16-year-old Rocky Dennis he could never be like everyone else. So he was determined to be better.
Sometimes the most unlikely people become heroes.
Production Companies: Universal Pictures
Cast: Cher, Sam Elliott, Eric Stoltz, Estelle Getty, Richard Dysart, Laura Dern, Micole Mercurio, Harry Carey Jr., Dennis Burkley
Writer: Anna Hamilton Phelan
Produced by: Howard P. Alston, C.J. Kettler, George Morfogen, Peggy Robertson, Martin Starger
Original Music by: Dennis Ricotta
Cinematography by: László Kovács
Film Editing by: Barbara Ford
Genre: Biography | Drama
Runtime: 120 min | 127 min (director's cut)
8 March 1985 USA
Opening Weekend: $135,499 (USA)
US Gross: $42,417,782
Worldwide Gross: $48,230,162
Filming Dates: May 1984
Filming Location: Azusa (California, USA); Los Angeles (California, USA); Malibu (California, USA); Monrovia High School - 845 W. Colorado Boulevard, Monrovia (California, USA); Stage 28, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City (California, USA); Stage 36, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, USA
Official site: maskdvd
Video - Cher in Mask: youtube.com
Dennis (Eric Stoltz), who suffers from a skull deformity, is
accepted without question by his freewheeling biker mother's
boyfriends, the extended motorcycle family, and his maternal
grandparents (who share his love of baseball card collecting) but
treated with fear, pity, awkwardness, and teasing by those unaware
of his humanity, humor, and intelligence. Rocky's mother, Florence "Rusty"
Dennis (Cher) is determined to give Rocky a life as normal as
possible, in spite of her own wild ways as a member of the biker
gang. She fights for Rocky's inclusion in a mainstream junior high
school, and she confronts a principal who would rather classify
Rocky with mental retardation and relegate him to a special
education school to fulfill his special needs. Rusty asks the
principal if they teach "algebra, biology, and English at this
school, because...these are Rocky's needs."
People Magazine - March 18, 1985 Vol. 23 No. 11
By Candice Russell, Film Writer - Cher Wears `Mask` Of Understanding - March 21, 1985
Mark Bego: "If You Believe" - Removing the Mask
By Roger Ebert - Cher: "This woman is unique" - March 17, 1985
Rotten Tomatoes - Critic Reviews for Mask
See all photos in the gallery.
- When Cher was cast in the film, she wanted her then boyfriend, Val Kilmer to play Gar but he was rejected for being too young for the part.
- Rob Lowe was nearly cast as Rocky Dennis. He declined due to scheduling conflicts with an unannounced film that was eventually canceled.
- Jane Fonda was the company's first choice.
- Eric Stoltz spent so much time under heavy makeup that when he arrived for the post production party he had to present I.D. to security to prove that he was Eric Stoltz. Also, when he got there he had to introduce himself to some of the cast and crew because many of them didn't know what he really looked like.
- The poem that "Rocky" reads to "Rusty" was written by the real Rocky Dennis.
- Songs by Bob Seger were substituted in place of those by Bruce Springsteen shortly before the film's release after a failure to reach agreement with Springsteen.
- Bruce Springsteen's music was chosen for several reasons. It was the real Rocky's favorite music, and it served to denote the passage of time. Springsteen wanted his music used in the original release, but the owners of his catalog at that time could not agree on a royalty rate with the studio. The music was reinstated for the Director's Cut when Springsteen himself pushed for its inclusion.
- Florence "Rusty" Tullis, the mother of Rocky Dennis, passed away on November 11, 2006, at age 70 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on October 14. Ms. Tullis was portrayed by Cher in Mask.
- Rusty actually had two sons. The older son, Joshua Mason, passed away in 1987 at age 32 due to complications from AIDS, which he received through a blood transfusion.
- Kevin Costner was considered for the role of Rocky Dennis.
- The Director's Cut print runs around 7 minutes longer and includes a scene where Rocky & Rusty sing a song "Little Egypt" around a bonfire, and the funeral of cyclist Red (his motorbike is buried beside him). It also replaces the Bob Seger songs with those of Bruce Springsteen.
- In preparation for the role, Cher met the real-life Rusty Dennis
- Cher earned $500 000 for this role.
- Cher received the 1985 Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress.
- "If Cher would have stood behind me and fought for the Springsteen music and the lost footage," Bogdanovich was quoted as saying, "I think we would have won [the fight against Universal]. Furthermore, if she had just taken no sides at all, I think she would have been nominated, Eric would have been nominated, the film would have been nominated, and I would have been nominated.
- Bob Mackie
designed the garish ensemble worn by Cher at the March 1986 Academy
Awards: black stretch pants, a bejeweled loincloth, knee high boots,
a black chainlink top, and a huge feathered Mohawk headdress that
was one and a half times taller than her head. Introduced by Jane
Fonda with the words, "Wait'll you see what's gonna come out here,"
Cher was appearing as a presenter after what many considered an
Oscar snub (Cher was not nominated for her performance in Mask). "As
you can see," said Cher, "I did receive my Academy booklet on how to
dress like a serious actress."
- (SPOILER!) The movie ends with Rusty Dennis and Gar visiting Rocky's grave. In real life, however, Rocky Dennis was not buried. His mother donated Rocky's body to the UCLA Medical Center for medical study.
- According to Peter Bogdanovich, on Sunday, 14 March 2004, in a talk at the Cleveland Public Library (Ohio), he has secured the rights for the Bruce Springsteen songs and the print will be re-released with the music chosen the first time around. There was a possible snag when the studio told Bogdanovich that the negative of the film had been lost - they only had positive prints - but the negative hadn't really been lost - Bogdanovich had removed it from the studio some years prior.
- A similar disfigured character is portrayed in the hit science fiction drama X-Files during the episode "The Post-Modern Prometheus". The disfigured boy is called Mutato by people in his town who have rejected him from society. Mutato watches Mask obsessively and dreams of one day meeting Cher, a dream which is fulfilled at the end of the episode.
- Screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan wrote the Mask script with an 8" x 10" glossy of Cher beside her index cards.
- On the set, Cher had her own battles to fight with director Peter Bogdanovich, a situation she couldn`t anticipate. "He did Paper Moon, which is one of my favorites. I figured that someone who could shoot that probably could do anything."
Rusty Dennis: First you told me he was gonna be retarded, then you told me he was gonna be blind AND deaf. If I'd dug his grave every time one of you geniuses told me he was gonna die, I'd be eating fuckin' chop suey in China by now!
Rusty Dennis: What's the matter, never seen anyone from the planet Vulcan before?
Dennis: What's his problem, Ma?
Gar: Rocky, your mom sometimes does the wrong things, but for the right reasons.
Dennis: [smashes some plates] I hate you going out every night
and coming home wasted all the time!
unpleasant visit with the grandparents, Rusty is about to take a lot
Rusty Dennis: [her final line, after finding that Rocky has passed away in his sleep] ... Now you can go anywhere you want, baby.
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