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Dispute Goes Public at Cannes : Cher, Bogdanovich Take Off Gloves Over ‘Mask’

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United Press International

A bitter dispute between actress Cher and director Peter Bogdanovich over the movie “Mask” took center stage today at the Cannes Film Festival, with the pair exchanging charges in public.

Bogdanovich also had some sharp words for Universal Studios’ handling of the film and said in the future he would make movies only in Europe, “where the artist’s rights are respected.”

His comments came the day after the competition screening of “Mask,” the true story of a boy who suffered from a genetic disorder, craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, in which abnormal calcium deposits distorted his skull and killed him at age 16 in 1978.

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At the screening, Bogdanovich and Cher, who stars in the film as the boy’s mother, sat three places apart and did not talk to each other.

Today, Bogdanovich held one news conference, while producer Martin Starger and screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan held another.

Bogdanovich said that before releasing the film, Universal had cut without his consent eight minutes of material that had “added depth, warmth and logic” to the work.

He said Universal had also substituted country music for the hard-hitting songs by Bruce Springsteen he had chosen.

The angry director then blasted Cher, whom he chose for the part of the boy’s mother, saying she did not trust him and ignored his direction.

“The film isn’t the way I’d like it to be, but I’m proud of what we did in the picture and of the actors and actresses,” Bogdanovich conceded.

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Cher later accused Bogdanovich of “looking after his own interests now and not the interests of the film.”

Despite the furor, the story of Roy (Rocky) Dennis was warmly received by the audience at its Tuesday night screening.

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