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DOWN-AND-OUT ROLE HELPED, DUNAWAY SAYS

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Oddly enough, playing a broken-down alcoholic helped Faye Dunaway's image.

The 48-year-old actress says her acclaimed role in "Barfly" was "a wonderful chance" - to work opposite Mickey Rourke and to undo some of the negative publicity lingering from 1981's "Mommie Dearest.""Mickey Rourke comes to me in a Chinese restaurant downtown and says, `I'm doin' this thing, you wanna do it?' " Dunaway said in the Oct. 16 issue of US magazine.

"I thought: Great, deglamorize, get some soul out there. Turn the perception around."

Dunaway, nominated for Academy Awards for her performances in "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Chinatown" and a winner for "Network," was ridiculed for her overwrought portrayal of Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest."