04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
Three decades after his career-defining role as the oddball kid Harold Chasen in the 1971 macabre cult comedy-romance "Harold and Maude," actor Bud Cort, 52, is back on the screen. He plays the bloated art dealer Howard Putzel in actor-director Ed Harris's movie bio of abstractionist Jackson Pollock, "Pollock," for which Cort packed on the pounds. But where has Cort (who also scored exactly three decades ago as the lead in Robert Altman's "Brewster McCloud") been all these years? After "Harold and Maude," he told The New York Times, "I didn't make a film for five years because everything I was offered was that same kind of character." He also admits that long ago he ticked off Paramount Pictures, because he didn't like the way the studio edited "Harold and Maude." "And from that moment on," he claims, "I've been persona non grata over at Paramount." Looking back, he says, "If I had it all to do over today, I would probably just shut up, take the money and not worry about it."