Streisand Sets Kramer Straight

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 10 2011 11:40 AM ET

 Multi-hyphenate entertainer Barbra Streisand clears any confusion that she is responsible for the film adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart languishing for decades, in a statement posted to her official website yesterday.

The two iconic figures butted heads in a report on Entertainment Weekly's website in which Streisand responded to Kramer's frequent claims that she had rewritten his script to beef up the supporting role of Dr. Emma Brookner as a starring role for herself. Streisand refutes this claim, saying that her objective was not to appear in the film at all. "I only wanted to direct it and I was willing to play the doctor only if that would help get it made."

Streisand writes that filming the play for HBO was a possibility, but Kramer refused their offer of $250,000 for the rights, holding out for $1 million.

Streisand adds that even after the film rights reverted back to Kramer, she continued to try to get a film of the play made because she was so passionate about its message. "As my producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron can confirm, I thought that if we could get a great cast together, maybe a studio would finally finance it and we could persuade Larry to let us do it. I offered the part of the doctor to Julia Roberts because I thought she would be terrific, and when she turned us down, we approached another actress. I also asked Mark Ruffalo and Bradley Cooper to be in it, and Bradley Cooper immediately said yes to my version of the screenplay. By the way, this is not to say that it wouldn’t have been rewritten again. The work is never done until the movie is released."

Streisand says Kramer blaming her is unfair since he's had the rights for the last 15 years and has also been unable to get the film made.

Streisand concludes by saying, "It’s been very hard for me to find a piece that I feel as passionate about. I will always believe in Larry’s play and its powerful theme about everyone’s right to love."

A revival of The Normal Heart opened on Broadway last month to rave reviews and multiple Tony award nominations. A film version to be directed by Ryan Murphy is being planned.

Read Streisand's full statement here.