Robert Redford clashed over Barbra Streisand in ‘Way We Were’ casting

“She’ll run herself. It’ll never work,” Redford told director Sydney Pollack of the “controlling” EGOT winner at the time.

Hubbell’s daughter may be adorable, but Robert Redford’s ‘The Way We Were’ co-star wouldn’t have been, according to the actor.

In an oral history of the iconic 1973 romance “The Way We Were,” director Sydney Pollack recalled Redford expressing concerns about working with Barbra Streisand due to her perceived reputation for “controlling” on set. (The couple, five decades later, are now, of course, friends.)

“She’s never been tested,” Redford told Pollack, according to Robert Hofler’s “The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen,” on sale January 24, 2023.” Her reputation is as a very controlling person. She will direct herself. It will never work. While director Sydney Pollack died in 2008, author Hofler compiled years of past interviews for the book.

Redford was particularly concerned about the ‘Funny Girl’ Oscar winner’s musical journey, saying, “She’s not going to sing, is she? I [don’t] I want her to sing in the middle of the movie.

The “entire concept of basing a film on Barbra as a serious actress”, according to Pollack, proved to be a crucial factor for Redford, while Streisand and the director were determined to get Redford to commit to the role. , despite studio and producer Ray Stark pushing for Ryan O’Neal.

“Barbra had never worked with a really strong leader,” Pollack said. “She tends to grab a shot, just by the size of her talent and her larger than life presence. It’s hard for a costar to stay in the same ring as her.

According to Pollack, only Redford could face the star. “As you play, you have to feel there’s a reserve somewhere, that you see the tip of the iceberg,” Pollack said. “Redford brings you to him as an interpreter. He holds his ground, and either you step into his territory or you don’t understand. Period. He won’t woo you…I literally spent eight months beating him to death to get him to. I wouldn’t let him get away with it.

Pollack would not direct the feature if O’Neal was cast, while Streisand said, “Ray Stark seemed to think any blond actor would do, but I wouldn’t give up on Redford.”

The ‘A Star Is Born’ actress added, “Back then, I wanted to be an actress, not a singer.”

The tension between Redford and Streisand continued during production, with Redford wearing “two sports fans for his love scene with Streisand, who opted to don a bikini” to not get too close to the actress, who was known to be romantically involved with her co-stars.

The success of “The Way We Were” spurred rumors of a sequel, with Redford and Streisand both reportedly receiving $8 million for the follow-up feature. Pollack told gossip columnist Marilyn Beck that Katie from Streisand and Hubbell from Redford would get together “when she calls for help with their daughter, who has grown up to be a Berkeley hippie with a drug problem. They will definitely get back together. And fortunately.

Yet Pollack later told an audience at an event hosted by critic Judith Crist in 1982 that Hubbell (Redford) was allegedly having an affair with his daughter’s roommate at Berkeley, but that “I know Redford and Barbra should end up together one way or another. I do not know how.

Screenwriter Arthur Laurents wrote a sequel titled “The Way We Changed”, moving away from the character of Streisand and instead focusing on Redford’s relationship with his daughter. However, Redford said he was done with Hubbell’s role.

“I didn’t, but Barbra did,” Redford said of wanting to do a sequel.

Streisand noted, “It’s a powerful love story and the sequel was important to me because these characters were so compelling. I wanted to know how their lives were going and imagined a story in which their daughter, now in college and herself politically active, inadvertently brings them together. The two have changed in ways that make them more politically aligned, while their feelings for each other remain the same, so it’s inevitable that they’ll reconnect. I still regret that we did not succeed. »