There’s suddenly a preponderance of Jackson Pollock picture projects in Hollywood.
Barbra Streisand and Robert De Niro have officially declared their intention to co-star in a film about Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner (Variety, April 19, 1993). This comes two days after actor Ed Harris announced his intention to co-produce and star in a Pollock pic (Daily Variety, June 16). And there are rumors that Al Pacino and director Harold Becker are developing a Pollock pic as well.
Much like the works of the great but troubled artist, at least one of these proposed projects likely will wind up on the canvas.
Streisand and De Niro will star in a film based on Jeff Potter’s biography, “To a Violent Grave,” and will also have the support and resources of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. They are trying to set the project up as a joint venture between Streisand’s Barwood Prods. and De Niro’s Tribeca Prods.
Barwood president Cis Corman said the book was brought to them by actor Gene Davis, who held the option. Once Streisand decided she wanted to star in it, they quicklydecided who she should work with.
“We proceeded to bring it to Tribeca, because who else but Bob De Niro should play Jackson Pollock?” Corman said. “I think it’s the role of a lifetime for him , and he’s also the son of a famous painter (Robert De Niro Sr., who recently died), who knew Jackson and Lee.”
Jane Rosenthal, De Niro’s partner in Tribeca Prods., said the actor has long wanted to work with Streisand.
“They have never acted together but always wanted to,” she said. “These are two great American characters, a natural fit.” She said that Christopher Cleveland, currently scripting “The Exchange Student” for Tribeca, will follow by writing the Pollock script.
Pollock, exponent of abstract expressionism and action painting, became one of the most influential American painters of the century, and Krasner, also a painter, was his muse. The tormented artist, who had a severe drinking problem, died in a car accident in 1966.
“I can understand why there are several projects out there,” Corman said. “It’s an extraordinary love story about two people who really changed the way we see the art world today.”
Ed Harris is using the PulitzerPrize-winning bio “Jackson Pollock: An American Saga,” by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith as source material. Harris, paired with producer James Trezza, also awaits a script.
The Streisand-De Niro project has been cooking for seven months. Streisand, who has a deal at Columbia, tried to set the project up there months ago, but sources say the studio, which has gotten very selective lately, passed.
“We’re still looking, but we expect to find a home for this,” Rosenthal said. “This project won’t be affected by any other one.”
No director has been set, but since De Niro just finished “A Bronx Tale,” his directorial debut for Savoy, and Streisand is an accomplished director herself, they might have that job slot covered, too.
“Perhaps they’ll flip a coin,” Rosenthal joked. Corman also held out the possibility that either might direct, but said they want to set the project up with a studio before worrying about that.