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Take One

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Director Peter Bogdanovich has been huddling with producer Martin Starger at Universal about who will play the female lead in The Mask, a new film about a kind of teenage elephant man. Based on a true story, the movie explores the relationship between a mother and her adolescent son, who has a rare genetic disorder that turns his face into a grotesque mask. Heading Bogdanovich’s list of actresses to play the mother is Cher. No offer has been made yet, but Cher enthuses, “It’s the best script I’ve ever read.”

Ian Charleson’s roles in the last two Oscar winners, Chariots of Fire (in which he was cast as Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell) and Gandhi (he was an Anglican minister) have given his career a boost. He’s considering offers to play Lewis Carroll in a British movie to be directed by Dennis (Pennies from Heaven) Potter, and an Istanbul sultan in a French flick about the famous 18th-century abduction of Aimée Dubueq de Rivery by pirates. Still, the Scottish actor isn’t noticed everywhere he goes. Between takes of CBS’s Master of the Game, in which he plays a diamond prospector in Africa, Charleson passed co-star Dyan Cannon in a corridor at London’s Pinewood Studios. Though they play father and daughter in the nine-hour miniseries, which begins Feb. 19, Ian and Dyan never have a scene together and, says Charleson, “She didn’t recognize me.” Maybe it was the wig and fake beard. Regardless, Charleson decided not to introduce himself to his TV daughter because “I think it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.” Nothing personal, Dyan.

Though Claus von Bulow, convicted of twice attempting to kill his wife, Sunny, still enjoys his freedom, the scandal forced him to resign from an exclusive men’s club called The Newport Reading Room. The fancy Rhode Island group has just published its membership roster and who should be included as a new junior member but Claus’ stepson, Prince Alexander von Auersperg. Alex, you’ll recall, initiated the investigation of Claus and testified against him. That’s one way to create a vacancy….

It may cost you to watch the Olympics on television in 1988…according to the Summer and Winter Games’ television consultant, Barry Frank. There’s “a distinct possibility,” says Frank, that popular events such as the boxing and gymnastics finals will air on pay-per-view TV, not the networks. Frank estimates that by 1988 20 million homes will have the hardware necessary for pay-per-view broadcasts and these may receive the Games first; the networks could cover the bulk of the Olympics on a delayed basis. Warns Frank, “People have to understand it isn’t their God-given right to sit home and watch the Olympics for free.” With pay-TV in the picture, he predicts rights to the Summer Games in Seoul could bring “considerably more” than the $225 million ABC paid to cover the 1984 Olympics in L.A. Talk about going for the gold.

Not only did Australian actor Mel (The Year of Living Dangerously) Gibson have to acquire an American accent for his upcoming film, The River, with Sissy Spacek, he also had to learn baseball for a scene in which he’s scripted to hit a home run. His batting coaches were his director, Mark (On Golden Pond) Rydell, and co-star Scott (The Right Stuff) Glenn, and the results were impressive. “He smashed the ball long and hard” gloats Rydell. “We only did three or four takes.” Though Gibson didn’t quite hit one out of the park, Rydell confides he scored in the hearts of lots of female admirers on the set. In Australia, they know how to get past first.