Barbra Streisand Talks #MeToo, 'A Star Is Born' Remake
During her chat with Ryan Murphy on the opening night of PaleyFest in Los Angeles, the actress teased that the new film, which she's seen parts of, is "very, very good."
Barbra Streisand took a trip down memory lane on Friday night, as the Hollywood legend was presented with the Icon Tribute during the kickoff to the 35th annual PaleyFest LA at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Ryan Murphy was on hand to lead an in-depth conversation with Streisand about her life in television, which began in 1961 with an appearance on The Tonight Show.
“I have to look up everything about myself because I forget,” she said. “I don’t remember. I asked my assistant today, ‘Did I win the Emmy for that? I don’t remember that.’”
Added Streisand, “I usually remember things by the food or what I was wearing. Quincy [Jones] sent me a picture and there we are, 1963, at my first Grammys and I don’t know where it was. At a hotel? A theater? I get things like that mixed up.”
Streisand admitted that she didn’t realize the PaleyFest tribute would be onstage at the Dolby. “I thought tonight was going to be in Beverly Hills at the Television Academy,” she said to big laughs. “I really thought that it was a dinner and we’d be sitting around tables and it was a chat. I wasn’t prepared for the Dolby Theatre.”
Prepared or not, Streisand had no trouble reminiscing about her many television projects, which have earned her five Primetime Emmys. The following are some of the highlights of her almost hourlong chat with Murphy.
Streisand was 21 when she appeared on Judy Garland’s variety show. She recalled the 41-year-old Wizard of Oz star's hands to be cold and shaking. “I adored her,” Streisand said. “I loved her. She was so wonderful to me. But it was interesting to observe, that drinking to try to ease the tension of fear … I know what she feels now because she was a legend. It gets harder as you get older.”
Streisand was struck with a paralyzing case of stage fright after she forgot the lyrics to one of her songs during her famous Central Park concert in 1968. She didn’t perform publicly for nearly another 30 years, unless it was for a political cause or a charity fundraiser. Listening to a self-help tape called Excellence helped her overcome her fear of performing. “Even today, I don’t really like to talk before I go on,” Streisand said. “I get very quiet. I also got a little pill called Inderoll, 10 milligrams. It did take away my pounding heart because when you have a pounding heart you can’t sing. It affects your vocals."
As for calming her nerves with a glass of wine, Streisand said she doesn’t drink. “I liked rum-and-coke sometimes when I was a teenager,” she said. “I like that little buzz, like beer. I like beer, but I was never into wines.”
Streisand’s longtime disdain for the media hasn’t subsided. She doesn’t understand why the press is surprised when she asks for photo approvals. “Yeah, I want fucking photo approval!” she said.
She makes no apologies for being a control freak. “I would say anybody talented … wants to control their work,” Streisand explained. “It’s not controlling life. It’s not controlling your life. It’s controlling your work.”
Streisand also says she never experienced a #MeToo moment. “I wasn’t one of those pretty girls with those nice little noses,” she said, adding, “We’re in a strange time now with men and women, and the pendulum is swinging this way and that way and it’s going to have to come to the center.”
Most of Streisand’s television watching these days is CNN and MSNBC. However, she does enjoy watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire while she’s exercising. The latest season of Showtime's Homeland has left her “disappointed”, and Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace is too “scary.” “I like the parts with Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez,” she said.
Streisand said she has seen parts of the upcoming remake of A Star is Born, directed by and starring Bradley Cooper opposite Lady Gaga. “It’s very, very good,” she said.
There was no mention of rumors that Streisand would guest-star on Murphy’s upcoming Netflix political drama with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Platt. However, when Streisand said she doesn’t like doing more than four takes when she’s acting, Murphy said with a smile, “Noted.” When she talked about still wanting to star as Mama Rose in a Gypsy remake, Ryan offered, “I have a really good Netflix deal, Barbra.”
The evening ended with The Paley Center for Media president and CEO Maureen J. Reidy presenting the Icon award to Streisand. Anyone hoping to get a quick photo or word with her was out of luck. As soon as Streisand began to walk offstage, seven burly security guards appeared to thwart any overzealous fans.