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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Faye Brays About Mommie Dearest

Tina, bring her the axe! Faye Dunaway's about to settle some old scores, perhaps, in writing a proposed memoir about her behind-the-scenes recollections of the making of Mommie Dearest. Undoubtedly, Ms. D will have many scores to settle indeed.

The actress has firmly, fiercely refused to discuss this debacle with the press, at times defensive, rude or just walking out on her interviewers. Now, however, I assume old girl needs money, as she's expected to blab all about Mommie Dearest, the movie.

The Best Actress Oscar winner (for Network) was a major star from the late '60s (Bonnie and Clyde, 1967; The Thomas Crown Affair '68) through the '70s. (Chinatown, Network, The Towering Inferno, Eyes of Laura Mars). That her star status came to a crashing thud is often attributed to her assaying the role of Joan Crawford in the Frank Perry screen adaptiaton of Christina Crawford's controversial and best-selling tell-all about her famous mother. Although long a camp classic best remembered for Dunaway's over-the-top, no-holds-barred performance, the film was a critical disaster for the most part (though Pauline Kael, at the time, called Dunaway's acting "startling, ferocious," with which I suppose no one would disagree). Obviously, director Perry must have given her the word that she could not go "too big" in her portrayal.

Anne Bancroft was originally set to star but pulled out when she got a load of script.

But was the failure of Mommie Dearest truly the cause of Faye Dunaway's becoming washed up in its tumultuous wake? I suspect it was the excuse the film industry needed to wash their hands of the tempestuous star. If Dunaway pens her book, she will no doubt cast blame on this one film. She was long known, however, for being radically late on sets, angering her co-stars and directors, and generally being a pain in the ass to everyone around her. The death blow may have been dealt by none other than Bette Davis who, on The Tonight Show, complained about her The Disappearance of Aimee (tv-movie) co-star. Bette called Faye out on her unprofessional behavior, keeping cast and crew waiting for hours with her extreme tardiness. "She's well named," Davis told host Johnny Carson. "Many a time I wish I could have done away with her!"

So, we await with much interest as to what this recollection will have to say. The news broke big-time about the book deal today at Querty.com. I anticipate it wil be a bitch fest, if completed, with Faye laying blame all over the place. "Bad scripts, bad directors, I can't keep making them work...," as Faye explains in the film. Let the character assassinations begin in the name of saving face.


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