Barbra Streisand sat down with Jamie Foxx at Raleigh Studios for a conversation about her Netflix special, “Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!” on Sunday. The multi-hyphenate also described the prejudice she faced coming from the music industry to the film business.
“When I made ‘Yentl,’ my first directorial job, people were like, ‘You’re going to direct? You mean an actress can direct and be fiscally responsible for the budget?’ It’s interesting, in the music business, there is no gender discrimination,” Streisand recalled. “It’s like if you’re woman or a man, it’s who sells [the] most records. But It’s still a man’s world basically in the movies.”
Streisand also emphasized the importance of doing what you want in the industry. “I started doing TV shows when I was 21 or 22 and I didn’t care about the money. I can’t even tell you what they paid me,” she said. “What I cared about was creative control.”
At the final Netflix FYSee event, Streisand revealed that in addition to bringing six of her Emmy-winning specials including “My Name Is Barbra” (1965), “Color Me Barbra” (1966) as well as a newly-cut version of “A Star Is Born” co-starring Kris Kristofferson to the streaming service. She has also been hard at work recording songs like “What’s On My Mind?” for an upcoming album and boarded to direct another film. Her last directorial effort was “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996) starring Jeff Bridges.
“I did just sign a contract to direct another movie,” Streisand told Foxx on stage, before adding a joke. “It’s about time.”
Foxx, who sang “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” with Streisand “Encore: Actors Sing Broadway” (2016), also posed questions about her memories from early childhood and beginning her career.
When Foxx asked her if reaching this point was truly “beyond your wildest dreams,” Streisand replied frankly with, “I hate to tell you this, Jamie, but no.”
She went on: “I was a child who had to dream, who had to live in my imagination because I came from a weird dysfunctional home. I was the kid on the block that was known for not having a father when all my friends had fathers. I had a good voice, but I dreamed about bigger things than the projects in Brooklyn.”
Although she boasts a list of accomplishments that includes being an EGOT winner and possessing more than 52 gold albums, Streisand, who wanted to be a classical actress when she was young, was also quick to note that she still gets nervous, even before her conversation with Foxx.
“I’m kind of insecure in many ways,” she admitted.
Streisand conceded that she wishes she loved touring, but “I don’t. I still get scared. I think I’m going to forget the lyrics.”
Streisand shared how she was petrified after forgetting the words to a song “I had sung many, many times at little clubs” during her “A Happening in Central Park” (1968) TV special. “For 27 years, I didn’t perform live unless it was for a political candidate I believed in or for charity. ‘Barbra: The Concert’ was me coming back after that time.”
Streisand also reflected on collaborating with William Wyler and Harry Stradling on “Funny Girl,” inspiring her to insist on singing everything live in “A Star Is Born” in addition to focusing on close-up shots during her performances.
“Willy and I were totally in sync,” she explained. “He allowed me to watch dailies with him. Even for the last song, ‘My Man,’ they had shown me the scene the day before on the last day of shooting. The room burst into applause. Willy looked at me and said, ‘What do you think, Barbra?’ I said: ‘It could be better. Because I can’t lip sync well. So I need to do it live.”
Streisand is currently in the third year of writing her autobiography. “I really would love to finish my book, but I see that it’s fleeting,” she admitted. “I get tired of reliving my life. In other words, been there, done that.”
— Tara Bitran (@tarabitran) June 11, 2018
“Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!” is currently streaming on Netflix.