By Clark Collis
February 12, 2019 at 12:12 PM EST

Sam Elliott has enjoyed good luck acting opposite female singers. More than three decades before his Oscar-nominated performance in the Lady Gaga-featuring A Star is Born, the California native reached an early career high point in Peter Bogdanovich’s 1985 film Mask, about a boy named Rocky (Eric Stoltz) who suffers from a bone disorder which affects his facial features. Cher played Rocky’s mother while Elliott was cast as her boyfriend, Gar.

Everett Collection

“I was a Cher fan when I was still living up in Portland,” says Elliott. “My mom and I were there, and I was going to school, and my dad had died, but my mom and I used to watch The Sonny and Cher Show religiously. I’ve always had a thing for female singers, for whatever reason. I remember Eric Stoltz sat in that makeup chair for four hours-plus, every day. Ate all of his meals out of a f—ing straw, and never once complained about it. We shot in the middle of the summer. It was brutal for him. Never complained once, that I ever heard.”

“I loved working with Peter,” continues Elliott. “I loved coming to the set and watching Peter. I’d come in early on, and I’m still that way. When I get to work, I go to the set. I don’t hang around my dressing room, the movie’s getting made on the set, and I like to see it kind of wake up. Peter would go in there with László Kovács, his cameraman, and he’d walk through everything he was going to do before anybody even got in there. I always liked to be back in the corner, like a mouse, watching that unfold. It was an education. I loved Peter and I loved Cher. I mean, what the f—? Cher’s Cher, you know? I mean, what’s there not to love about her. She’s one of the most outrageous people I’ve ever spent time with, and she’s wonderful to work with. It just was a glorious f—ing period of time.”

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