Persuading Redford: Barbra Streisand's Triumph in 'The Way We Were Memoir

08.10.2023 posted by Admin

Persuading Redford: Streisand's Memoir on The Way We Were

Barbra Streisand reflects on her journey to persuade Robert Redford to join the cast of the 1973 film "The Way We Were" in her upcoming memoir, "My Name Is Barbra," featured in Vanity Fair. This romantic drama tells the story of Katie Morosky (played by Streisand) and Hubbell Gardiner (played by Redford), an unlikely couple who fall in love amidst the backdrop of political and historical events. Their relationship is put to the test as they grapple with deeply ingrained societal beliefs.

In her memoir, Streisand recounts the challenges she and director Sydney Pollack faced in convincing Redford to star alongside her. She describes Redford as a unique blend of an intellectual and a charismatic star, someone who also ranks among the finest actors of his generation. Streisand appreciated that, like her husband, Redford was somewhat modest about his looks.

Streisand's desire for Redford to play the role of Hubbell was clear, but he initially declined the offer. Recognizing Pollack's close relationship with Redford, Streisand sought his assistance in persuading the actor. Both Streisand and Pollack believed that only Redford could make the film a success. Streisand likens their persistence to a game of tennis, where her performance would be elevated when paired with a strong counterpart.

In her memoir, Streisand acknowledges that one reason Redford initially turned down the role was his perception that the script heavily favored Katie's character, leaving Hubbell's character underdeveloped. Redford felt that Hubbell was shallow and one-dimensional, a mere object without clear desires, which Streisand and Pollack agreed with. Determined to secure Redford for the role, Streisand implored Pollack to do whatever it took, even enlisting the help of writers David Rayfiel and Alvin Sargent to enhance Hubbell's character.

Despite these efforts, Redford's answer remained a steadfast "no," leaving Streisand heartbroken. While producer Ray Stark considered moving on to another actor, Pollack pleaded for one more week to convince Redford. Streisand, filming "Up the Sandbox" in Africa at the time, anxiously awaited updates. Then, a telegram from Sue Mengers arrived with the message, "Barbra Redford!" Streisand's heart soared; Redford had finally agreed to the role.

Streisand reflects that the courtship had been challenging, but Redford's initial reluctance had a significant impact on the script, resulting in a more complex and intriguing character for Hubbell. "The Way We Were" went on to win two Oscars, including Best Original Song for Streisand's rendition of the title song and Best Original Dramatic Score, marking the culmination of a tumultuous but ultimately successful journey.
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