Movies & TV

Streisand gives early OK to Gaga’s ‘Star’

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in a scene from the latest reboot of the film, "A Star is Born." Neal Preston/Warner Bros. via AP

LOS ANGELES: Barbra Streisand’s “A Star is Born” is being reborn online with scenes she’d cut from the 1976 movie. Long known as a perfectionist, Streisand tinkered with the film to restore an exchange between the star-crossed lovers played by her and Kris Kristofferson and an instrumental take on the Oscar-winning tune “Evergreen.”

The romantic drama, coming to Netflix along with other Streisand projects, isn’t the only “Star” on the horizon. A new version, with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, is set for a fall release. Streisand is giving an early thumbs-up to the fourth version of the romance between a rising young performer and a fading one, which Cooper directed.

“What I saw of it was very good,” Streisand said. “It feels reminiscent of mine, but they added some new things which I liked, too.”

She compared “A Star is Born” to other classic tales that remain compelling. “The story works,” she claimed. “It worked in 1937. It worked in 1954. It worked in 1976 and it’s going to work in 2018. ... It’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Everyone knows the ending, but they like watching how we get there.”

The original 1930s film starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, with Judy Garland and James Mason in the ’50s remake.

Streisand’s revised “Star” will be available on Netflix as part of a deal that includes her 1960s TV specials “My Name Is Barbra,” “Color Me Barbra” and “Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park.” Release dates were not announced.

The singer, filmmaker and Oscar-winning actress took the opportunity with “A Star is Born” to right an error of omission for the film that was directed by Frank Pierson but on which she had the final edit.

“It’s a scene that never should have been cut out in the first place and I cut it out,” Streisand said, “so I have only myself to blame. I was trying to move the picture along.”

In the restored sequence, Streisand’s aspiring actress-singer Esther takes guitar in hand to play “Evergreen” for Kristofferson’s character. Streisand wrote the music, with lyrics by Paul Williams.

Streisand said she realized the moment helped illuminate the pair and their relationship. She also added footage to the movie’s finale that features a medley of the “With One More Look at You” and “Watch Closely Now.” The movie and some of its songs are part of a Netflix concert film, “Barbra: The Music. The Mem’ries. The Magic!” that’s been submitted for consideration for this year’s Emmy nominations.

Streisand paused only briefly when asked why she agreed to the 2016-2017 concert tour. “My motivation was that I wanted a painting by Modigliani, and so I worked for it. I don’t enjoy live performing. I love recording, I love making movies, but I don’t enjoy being on the stage.”

Did she purchase the Italian artist’s work? “I did.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 14, 2018, on page 12.




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