Barbra Streisand | Film | Larry Kramer | Mark Ruffalo | Theatre

Barbra Streisand and Larry Kramer In Blame War Over 'Normal Heart'

There's been a great deal of animosity between Barbra Streisand and Larry Kramer over the unsuccessful development of a film version of his 1985 play, "The Normal Heart." The failed collaboration led to Kramer publicly calling Streisand a "hypocrite" last year and the two are now trading verbal jabs in the pages of Entertainment Weekly.

Bslk According to Streisand, Kramer was unwilling to allow adjustments that were necessary to make the script more cinematic. “I was using the best of [the play]. But there are certain things you do for film,” she tells EW. “Larry only wanted to use his screenplay. I couldn’t have my hands tied artistically.”

Kramer has another version of the story. He says Streisand rewrote the script to make her character the star, marginalizing the gay characters who are at the center of the play. “She cut Ned’s part so much that when she offered the movie to a major star who had played the part on stage, he said, ‘I can’t play this. The character has no motivation anymore,’” claims Kramer. “She subsumed all of the motivations into her part, as the doctor.” (A rep for Streisand did not immediately reply to request for comment on Kramer’s remarks.)

Streisand also says Kramer rejected a deal from HBO to turn the play into a TV project after major studios balked at its subject matter. “Larry wouldn’t accept their highest offer of $250,000. He wanted a million dollars,” says Streisand. “Larry held out for the money. I didn’t. Why not advance your cause? Why keep this movie unseen for all these years?” Kramer claims he never heard about such an offer and says Streisand repeatedly abandoned the project to work on other movies.

Glee's Ryan Murphy will now direct a film version of "The Normal Heart" starring Mark Ruffalo though, according to the actor, shooting may not take place this year as had been previously scheduled.

Andy attended the Broadway premiere of the play just last week. Read his review here.

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  1. Nothing about Jason in th EW piece, needless to say.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 8, 2011 10:51:50 AM

  2. I believe them both.

    As media distribution changes, it stands a better chance to getting out there.

    The problem w/ studios is their target audience is always teenagers.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | May 8, 2011 10:56:17 AM

  3. My husband and I just saw the play last night. Really excellent.

    Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2011 10:57:13 AM

  4. Two notoriously difficult people to work with. Nothing surprising about this.

    Posted by: John | May 8, 2011 11:07:32 AM

  5. I believe them both, too, since their accounts really don't contradict the other's. I wouldn't blame Larry for wanting to get paid for his work and I can totally see Streisand being intent on destroying his work and not seeing it that way.

    As terrible as it is that we've been deprived of a movie version all these decades (!), this couldn't have worked out any better under the circumstances. It's not only finally away from Streisand, but Ryan Murphy is going to direct Mark Ruffalo? I'll be there opening night.

    Posted by: justme | May 8, 2011 11:11:30 AM

  6. Ugh, this again? Larry Kramer is his own worst enemy. So tired of his rage and venom.

    Posted by: Brad | May 8, 2011 11:12:42 AM

  7. Kramer's "rage and venom" made the world a better place for you and all of us, whether you appreciate it or not. What have you done with your life? How has the world been made better because of your actions?

    You obviously have your own "rage and venom" or you wouldn't have posted such a hateful comment. Do you ever use it for good? Or only to attack your betters?

    Posted by: ohplease | May 8, 2011 11:19:25 AM

  8. Brad, Larry's rage and venom have saved Thousands of lives....

    Posted by: John Normile | May 8, 2011 11:22:23 AM

  9. I'm not sure Larry saved any lives. His message was never consistent overall. He should shop around to have his movie made, or simply tape the play being performed and release that.

    Posted by: anon | May 8, 2011 12:25:18 PM

  10. I also believe them both. Just look The Prince of Tides. It is a great movie, but Barbra's part is much bigger than it is in the book.

    Posted by: Matt26 | May 8, 2011 12:49:20 PM

  11. Of COURSE Barbra wanted to enlarge her role. Does this surprise anyone? I'm surprised she didn't contact Marvin Hamlisch to add a couple of ballads.

    Posted by: tpow | May 8, 2011 12:59:35 PM

  12. Well Larry obviously didn't have enough clout or skill to get a distribution and production deal for HIMSELF. He needed Streisand and with that comes strings attached. Sour grapes. Hope to be able to see the play if it comes to Houston or the movie version very soon.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | May 8, 2011 1:18:36 PM

  13. Effing prima-donnas.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 8, 2011 1:19:25 PM

  14. So glad Streisand got her side of the story out. She's not perfect, but she's done a ton more for gay rights than almost any entertainer.

    Kramer is a professional a-hole, and while this dominant part of his personality has done a lot to inspire action for those with HIV/AIDS, that and his egotism also helped sink The Normal Heart reaching a wider audience and has hit many undeserved targets, like Streisand's son. And really, he expected a million dollars for an HIV/AIDS script about gay men from an off-Broadway play?

    If Streisand can put behind the personal attacks and take a part in the film, it would be a nice resolution to all this. Kramer should apologize as publicly and personally as he attacked her.

    Posted by: Jeff | May 8, 2011 2:31:06 PM

  15. Apologize for what? For her incompetence?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 8, 2011 2:44:28 PM

  16. "Two notoriously difficult people to work with. Nothing surprising about this."

    Yeah. Raging narcissists clashing with other raging narcissists. And unsurprisingly, another raging narcissist is directing it.

    Posted by: Zach | May 8, 2011 3:57:35 PM

  17. You know what the WORST part of the story is--That Ryan Murphy is going to be directing the film version....Can't wait for his sappy, mawkish, annoyingly self-referential version of this important play.

    Posted by: joe | May 8, 2011 4:35:29 PM

  18. What, pray tell, has Streisand done to advance the gay community's agenda? Unless it was singing "People", Barbra only cares about Barbra. Jason has prompted her a little, but considering the allegiance she has in our community it's not been enough.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | May 8, 2011 4:48:41 PM

  19. JEFF

    What the hell is wring with you?

    If I wrote a play in my bedroom, copyrighted and then showed it in my house for our family friends and one of the friends was my best mates dad who is a film producer who thought it was ace and would like to make a Hollywood film out of it, should I ask him to lay 1 dollar because it was shown in my house? Instead of Hollywood?

    When do you start charging what someting is worth?

    If I was him I wouldve asked for a percentage but because maybe he felt it wouldnt make too much money, he wanted the million. But I have a funny feeling if it was a huge hit, that million would piss him off.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 8, 2011 4:58:20 PM

  20. The play is brilliant...saw it when i way back when I was visiting friends in hospitals and going to funerals every month it seemed. Now with that said... Larry Kramer at time acts more like a bitter old queen than someone who has accomplished as much for the community as he has. Like an earlier posted stated.. he is his own worse enemy.

    Posted by: Don | May 9, 2011 12:43:03 AM

  21. When egos clash. These are two VERY strong willed people - neither of whom should be working with the other. I have no doubt that both their stories are pretty close to the truth - at least from their perspective but I also doubt that the movie will ever be made, either for theatrical release or for television.

    Posted by: Tyron | May 9, 2011 9:57:06 AM

  22. Streisand has posted a thorough run-down of what happened with her and Kramer on her official site.

    Sounds to me like Kramer thwarted every attempt. Since when do playwrights know how to write a screenplay?? He played hardball with his script and asked for too much money.

    Posted by: Babsdude | May 9, 2011 10:44:03 AM

  23. The play is brilliant, but Larry Kramer is a stubborn mule. Did he save any lives? (I guess I hope so.)

    Did he also act like an arrogant fool? Definitely.

    Posted by: TonyJ | May 9, 2011 12:59:55 PM

  24. Barbra would have done a great job. It just wasn't meant to be. To her detractors: Go do something with your own lives. Barbra has done wonders with her's.

    Posted by: Vince | May 9, 2011 6:42:04 PM

  25. It should have been the opportunity...experience...of a lifetime, especially for a gay man. To meet the one and only Barbra Streisand...OMG. But was it a dream come true or a nightmare? In his new book Marc Freden describes meeting, talking with or interviewing three of the most iconic women in Hollywood. In his chapter "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly", Freden talks about an interview he had with Barbra Streisand...could she have rated Good, Bad or Ugly in Freden's eyes. Well, suffice it to say, Freden believes he must apologize.

    Posted by: Marc Freden | Jun 21, 2011 8:46:36 AM

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