Barbra Sets The Record Straight On 'The Normal Heart'

I’ve endured Larry Kramer’s outbursts in the past, not wishing to dignify them with a response. But at a time when we are all pulling together to achieve such giant steps toward gay equality, it is anguishing to me to have my devotion to this cause so distorted. I think my efforts for the gay community and my immersion in securing its constitutional entitlement and other equitable rights is quite evident and a matter of record.

During the time we were trying to move The Normal Heart forward, my production company, Barwood Films, made the TV films Serving In Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story—which brought home to millions of Americans the painful truth about the disparate treatment of gays in the military, and What Makes A Family?—about gay adoption. Perhaps it’s time for me to disclose why my earnest and passionate efforts to direct The Normal Heart as a film were frustrated.

When I saw the play in 1985 I was very moved and immediately contacted Larry to acquire the rights. I worked for ten years, without pay, trying to get it made. After going through several drafts with Larry, I hired a writer to develop a screenplay that was faithful to Larry’s play, adapting it to make it more cinematic. But Larry refused to accept any revisions and insisted we use his screenplay. I couldn’t get any studio to commit to his version. Many fine actors were ready to commit to our version, but Larry would not allow it.

When Larry now says I rewrote the script in order to make the woman doctor the star, marginalizing the gay characters, he is rewriting history. My objective was not to be in this movie. I only wanted to direct it and I was willing to play the doctor only if that would help get it made.

Eventually, when it became clear that we couldn’t raise the money to do it as a film, I thought, all right, we’ll do it on TV. At least it would reach a wide audience. But even HBO would only pay Larry $250,000 for the rights, and he would not let it go forward for anything less than $1,000,000. No studio was willing to move on it, considering the controversial subject matter and the burden of that cost.

After ten years, the rights reverted back to Larry. But even when I had no contractual involvement, I still persisted in pressing to get The Normal Heart made, purely because I believed in the project. 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.

I think it’s unfair to blame me for the movie not getting made. After all, Larry has had the rights for the last 15 years and he couldn’t get it made, either. Those are the facts, and none of this is news to Larry.

More recently, he sent me a note before giving the project to another director, asking me again if I wanted to direct it—but only with his screenplay. As a filmmaker, I couldn’t have my hands tied like that. What if I needed to make changes? What if I needed to have something rewritten? Sadly, I turned his offer down and wished him well.

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.

Comments for this Truth Alert

Dear Barbara, I have always loved you and your work - in entertainment and politics. That Larry can't see the forest for the trees and cut you loose with this project is/has been his loss....and ours for the story not reaching a broader audience.

I lost my cousin ( a gay man) to aids in 1995; Just 6 months after he was a paulbearer at my mother's funeral. I loved him dearly. Thanks for all you do for the gay community. I wish the rest of the planet would get on board and let the gay community have their place with the rest of us. Heres hoping you will still get to do the film ... I'm hoping and praying.

watchman
jerry

It is sad that this story may never be made for millions to see. I agree with you Barbra that you have gone far and above to work with Larry on this story. He needs to understand that when you make a movie, the story has to be written differently than the original. Knowing your works Barbra, I am sure you were true to the story.
I applaud your efforts in trying to make things work, but sometimes people just don't won't to let go, thinking more of themselves than having the story told.

Sincerely
Jasper

Hopefully, one day, Mr. Kramer will come to his senses and set his own heart free. In the meantime we can revel in the fact that Barbra’s chutzpah, talent, courage, and compassion serve as an inspiration to many of us. Yes, The Normal Heart will live on, but it will do so knowing in our hearts and minds that only Barbra could bring to it that which few others could.

-Craig

Barbra,

Thank you for everything you do for the gay community. Please make an "It Gets Better" video. That would be awesome.

Tim Fishback

Dear Ms. Streisand, I am so happy you are setting this record straight. I knew that you were sincere without knowing the facts and when I spoke up for you, my friends said it was just my devotion to your work.
I know you have given a great deal to the LGBT community.... I used to identify mainly as a gay man. I also identify as transgender now, and have always, trusted the truth behind the scenes, even if I didn't know them. I'm glad you are setting the record straight. I admire your restraint, and I admire you speaking the truth.

Barbra,

Your writing style is so similar to mine. I admit I am not familiar with this matter--except just a bit of banter over the years. Eventually, however, I would have detailed the events in a “truthful” and even handed fashion just as you felt compelled to do so.

In 1968 when I was seven years old, I was clueless about the birds and the bees. But, I saw you on the big screen in Funny Girl. I remember asking my mother who was the "funny and pretty lady who sing's so beautiful." She told me your name—I think she even pronounced it properly. I was immediately and forever hooked.

For those of us who have been blessed enough to survive 30 years of AIDS, you know we are still your “diehards.” It is a spiritual connection that transcends the normal. I do not believe in the paranormal. I consider “paranormal” as normal things that most do not fully understand in the human existence.

Your talent has comforted me, entertained me, moved me, made me laugh, cry—oh yes—cry, countless times throughout my entire life since the tender age of seven.
At this stage of your career, it would be a tragedy for you to waste any of the precious time you choose to work. No matter what potential this script holds—it simply must not be in the cards.

If you never did another movie or album—your body of work will always be treasured by me and so many others. Still, we want and crave more. It has been so inspirational to watch you mature emotionally and professionally over the past couple of decades.

I am thrilled to learn you will be in a film next year and anxiously await the upcoming album. And yes Ms. Streisand, you will get that record of having a number one album on the Billboard Chart for and unprecedented SIX CONSECUTIVE DECADES!

One of many special fans . . .
Patrick (DaisyGambler)

Of course, the shame of it is that it detracts from the bigger issue:

The truth is is that gay rights, full gay rights, is constitutional; anything less being unconstitutional.

I would hope that Mr. Kramer realizes that it might be more important to heal his differences with Ms. Streisand so that we can work together to keep Michelle Bachmann out of the White House next year.

I think the Republicans are going to end up going with her, and she's the worst thing to happen to gay rights in years (sort of like having Anita Bryant for President).

A suggestion to Ms. Streisand:

I'd like to call your attention to another property (though whether the rights are available to it I don't know):

This was a successful Broadway play back in the late 70s', and I'm pretty sure there was a PBS television version, too, but never a major motion picture; and Ms. Streisand, you might just do very good work directing something like it"

Lanford Wilson's "The Fifth Of July".

I saw a Broadway performance of this with Swoosie Kurtz in one of the starring roles.

It is arguably one of the most powerful pieces of theatre dealing with the issue of 'gays in the militiary', and related family, health, 'quality of life', issues; and Ms. Streisand, I'd like to suggest it to you.

Barbra, I admire your genius to see the brilliance of "The Normal Heart" when you purchased the rights in 1985 when no one else would touch it. Your passion and need to tell stories relating to the human condition are incredible. Your like today's version of Ellia Kazan who's films dealt with the underside of life and the human condition.

I admire all the passion you put into this project and for Larry Kramer to say you expanded the part of the Doctor to enhance your role is ridiculous. Now, that the "Normal Heart" has gotten raves on Broadway and is now not as threatening to the general public at large, maybe now you and Larry can get the movie made. You would be incredible in the part of the Doctor and would bring this story to the screen for all to finally see. I think Larry Kramer has to realize when a play is made into a film it has to be made cinematic and expanded for the audience to stay engaged. Based on what I have read, Larry Kramer just wants a movie version of his play. If that is the case they should just tape it and show it in theaters as they are now doing with shows like "Company."

You are very honest when you told Larry Kramer when he asked you to direct the film without any changes would be virtually impossible as you are making a movie from a play and you have to make changes. I don't think Larry Kramer understands the transition process from stage to screen. Basically, he seems to just want a movie of his play with out making it cinematic. This would not work as the audience would not stay engaged as film is a different medium than theater.

You have championed causes and have been a huge supporter of the gay community since your career began. I would love if you and Larry could sit down now and try and get this film make. Now, if you cannot make for film, due to financing, you could do for HBO. After all, they did a brilliant job with "Angels in America." I would love to see you play the part of the Doctor as you would be brilliant. Things have changed since 1985 and the years you were trying to get made. Now the world is more open to this story and it is a timeless piece as it captures a period in time when HIV and AIDS was just coming on the scene and people were too afraid to deal with this topic. Now things are getting better( Isn't it great Gay Marriage is now Legal in New York). I would love for you to make this film as you have been the icon for the gay community and it would be appropriate that you do it. What I admire most is you bought the rights at a time when no one would of touched it. That alone shows your courage and passion to bring this great play to the screen.

I hope that after you finish this film and hopefully your still doing "Gypsy" that you can make "The Normal Heart." Like you said: "Larry Kramer has had the rights back for 15 years and has not been able to bring to the screen either." I think now, you will not be met with the same resistance from the studios that you faced early on and Larry Kramer needs to understand when you turn a play into a movie you have to make changes for the screen. If he doesn't want to make changes, maybe, they should just film this production that is running now and show it in theaters like they just did for "Company." Yet, I must say it will not be the same without you in it as you deserve to play the Doctor as you have done so much to fight injustice against the gay community and to help people who are outcasts from society. Plus all your other philanthropic work, including your latest fundraiser for Women's Heart Disease.

I eagerly await your new CD and new film; "My Mothers Curse." Then, I hope you will be playing Mama Rose in "Gypsy." I have dreamed of you playing that part for decades now. I love "Gypsy:" so much, one of my Rhodesian Ridgebacks is named "Gypsy." I included a picture of Gypsy Rose Lee.

I wish you continued success in all you do and thank you for inspiring me every day to be a better person. Barbra, Your the top!

Happy Anniversary a few days in advance.
Best always,
Jeff Freedman
Tapking 30

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Dear Barbra,

Thank you so much for all you do.
Kathy

I just finished listening to Larry Kramer on the CBC National radio show "Q". It seems that "The Normal Heart" will in fact be made into a movie and Mr. Kramer has been paid an appropriate sum for the product by one of the creators of the TV series "Glee". It seems that a character from the TV series "The Big Bang Theory" has already signed on and that Julia Roberts may agree to the production.

I juxtapose this reality (which I have now confirmed by independent Internet search) with your "outburst" above and cannot begin to imagine what your difficulties were with this Tony winning play no more than six months before? Perhaps you should stop blaming Mr. Kramer, issue a "mea culpa", sit down with the man, apologize for the above and return to a truth regarding this matter as opposed to some prima donna type posturing.

I know you can do it!

Perhaps your problem with the play was that you just kept on trying to " . . . set the record straight"? Frankly, I am getting quite tired of hearing liberals compromising glbtt reality in order to give it broader social appeal. This is NOT what is needed and is - in fact - just as bad as the hatred that keep our stories from being told in the first place.

Love your work, your voice is beautiful, bless you for the beauty you have brought into my life.

Sincerely,

Mark

Dear Ms Streisand,

I heard about your attempts to get 'The Normal Heart' to our screens about 7 years ago, and as a fan of your work since I was 6, (I am now 22), I knew that if anybody could bring such a poignant story to life on either the big screen or the television, you would be the one to do so.

During the period when I was coming out as a gay man, I would listen to your terrific music, and watch your films (and I still do!) and they helped me find who I really was and helped me come to terms with the things that I was feeling.

'Yentl' in particular was a help. I believe that it had a special meaning to you to have made that film, and that the film had a specific meaning to you. But to me, it made me realise that no matter what I am, whatever my gender or sexual orientation, I am entitled to the same love, affection and rights as any other person.

So with that in mind, I would like to thank you for all that you have done for gay rights and equality for all the people of the LGBT Community, not only in your home country of the USA, but for people like me, in the UK and I am sure for many others around the world.

Thank you and I hope to see and hear more of your fantastic work soon,

Thomas Devaney (StreisandfanUK89)

P.S. I cannot wait for 'What Matters Most' xx

Greetings to all Barbraphiles from across the pond.. yes distorted versions of this saga have even reached dear old Blighty. Two passionate people with a lacerating desire to tell it like it is. But where is it? Maybe Barbra's initial instinct not to dignify the outbursts with a response is the wisest course.

A chat show host over here says he reads about himself in the newspapers and thinks "Oh what complete RUBBISH!" and then turns the page to read about someone else and thinks "Ooooh she didn't!"

It is ironic that this wonderful gift of language, this supposed mechanism for revealing truth also subjects us to subterfuge and disinformation and always, always - context and interpretation.

The truth.... ought to be so simple...and it is really..... Barbra has worked hard for the civil rights of minorities and Barbra's is a passionate voice for tolerance of diversity
That is the very essence of who Barbra is as an artist. Her message of empowerment and love transcending is a thrilling one. She has used her power to stand up for the excluded - because she has always understood how it is to feel like an outsider. And all of us "mishkeits" (sorry if that ain't spelt right) we love her for it...and as for the sneerers..... well who cares, they take the easy path...Barbra takes the difficult one!
Stopping foolish gossip must be a bit like Canute trying to stop the waves.

"Don't believe what you read!" well maybe it is just a question of choosing our books better.
We don't have to read tittle.

I don't quite understand HOW the blame got turned around on you, when in fact, in plain words, it's his greed that is preventing the movie from being made. It's such a beautiful piece of work, and such a shame it isn't being put to film. You would have made it amazing, Barbra. Like every piece of work you do.

So glad you set the record straight. The dignity of your respectful and factual account of the scenario speaks volumes to the consistancy of your professionalism.
Very much miss seeing you in recent film musicals and dramas but delight in the magnificence of your catalog of songs and past works. Listening still to your earliest recordings I continue to find hidden levels of nuance and splendor so exquisitely delievered. Please know the richness you have brought to my life and that of countless others.

With sincere thanks,
Mark H. Ellis

after reading that it's obvious to me and hopefully to others and Larry that it was completely unfair to blame you for it. it was, after all, basically his play and he should have just taken the offer of $250,000, wanting $1,000,000 for it is too much. and i would also like to say i can't thank you enough, Ms.Streisand, for standing up for gay rights, it is one of my strongest beliefs that people should be able to love who they want. I thank you for thinking the same way and showing the world its not fair how people are treating them. I know some gay people and they are just like all of us, they are no different, they are just like all of the other people in the world whether people are gay, straight, bi, lesbian, or transgendered we are all human and people need to realize we are all equal.

Nataline

Larry Kramer should eat his words and come to terms with Barbra Streisand to work out a deal to make the movie version of "The Normal Heart." It is important to document "the way we were" back in the hatey '80's so that history is documented before all eyewitnesses have passed away. The task should not be left to those younger moviemakers who simply can not understand firsthand the level of anxiety and panic there was when AIDS was first discovered 30 years ago--incurable, hideously painful and disfiguring, socially unexceptable, no treatment to prolong life or relieve discomfort, no particular charities or special government funding to study it, and not even a proper understanding of what it was!

Barbra Streisand could both direct and star as the doctor. Larry Kramer could write the screenplay--with Barbra Streisand! If this subject is so controversial that no major studio wants to fund it properly without a big star, then it needs Barbra Streisand involved in all creditable aspects; there is no bigger actress/director/star in show business than Barbra Streisand--with all due respect to Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, and any other current star who was wearing Dr. Dentons to bed back in 1981!

Mr. Kramer: I thought if a motion picture was produced well enough to make plenty of money, a percentage of the gross could satisfy anybody involved--hint, hint! And this is both Streisand's and Kramer's big chance to win an Oscar for Best Picture, among other categories.

Barbra as always your example of holding your head high and bringing forth the truth about the untruths printed or spoken about something to do with you, is once again very admirable with the way you approached this about your involvement with The Normal Heart. It is time the truthful facts were put out there. What I know would have been a very rich and touching movie if you had been able to make it, I am so glad that you did not lower your principles and standards and settle for something less from yourself.

Once again people have to throw the blame your way, or accuse you of some absurdities, becaue of who you are, and because you wouldn't compromise your principles or vision in what you believe in. I would think by now that any studio involved with making a movie that involves your participation in directing, producing, and/or starring in, would want to say YES without any hesitations because of the past movies you have directed, produced, or starred in.

Bravo to you once again for all you have accomplished in your works. Keep acting, directing, producing, and singing!!! You are the best.

Dear Barbra,

"The Normal Heart" is a brilliant work and I can understand why you were drawn toward getting it made as a film or for TV.

However, as someone who has enjoyed your work a great deal over the years, I'm kind of glad you're not making it. Not because I don't think you wouldn't have done a great job with it, of that I have no doubt.

But for me, when I think of the two gay themed works that you produced: "The Col. Maragette Camermeyer Story" and "What Makes A Family?" - while these pieces were about issues that can, and do, effect both gay men and lesbians - they nonetheless both revolved around a lesbian story. That's great. I had hoped that you would do a gay themed project revolving around a gay man. I guess that would have been "The Normal Heart". But, to be honest - if you're only going to be making one piece of work with a gay male focus, I really don't want it to be about AIDS, no matter how moving. In time. AIDS will be adequately addressed and that would leave your piece somewhat dated. I'd much prefer a piece with a broader scope. Perhaps a love story not centered around a disease. For too long, we didn't have any gay films, and then when we did, all the big ones about the guys were about AIDS ("Philadelphia", "Longtime Companion" etc.). I swear you could bearly rent an independent film without the obligatory AIDS character in it. It was total overkill and very depressing (and I say this as someone who is poz himself!)

I want something happy, uplifting, jubilant, hopeful, inspirational. If I could wish for one thing, it would be an album of songs, perhaps entitled "Love, Barbra" - that could be assessible to everyone - GLBT, poz or not. I live with the whole poz situation, I really wouldn't be able to get psyched about the one work you made about gay guys involving a disease. We have and are continuing to deal with it with the same courage, dignity, compassion and hope we always have and someday it will be behind us. If your one work revolves around that theme, when the day comes and we do get past it, well... the film would become something of a poignant but dated period piece.

A love story or an inspirational album would be for all time!

Thanks for the positive vibes your artistry has brought into my life these past 30+ years. You're truly an inspiration!

Sincerely,
C. Sullivan

That was a wonderful project, but Barbra dont stress out about it. Since you became a star everyone blames you for anything. So Larry and other people can say anything they want, WE YOUR TRUE FANS always believe in what you say cause you have been always trying to do the right thing and people always make stories. You are famous and you will have to deal with some people's BS but WE LOVE YOU ANYWAY.....

Barbra,

I have been defending you on this issue -- with fans in person, and on message boards devoted to your career -- since the mid-'90s.

Your statement is vindicating. I have been waiting for you to really let loose on the specifics so people would stop blaming you for non-movement on this project. I am SO glad you finally did.

It is my expectation that one way or another, you will either produce or direct a movie version of "The Normal Heart". Given how long your name has been attached, there would be no better "Hollywood way" to bring MORE attention to this project than your involvement.

With deep admiration and respect,

Paul Katz
Blogger, The Huffington Post

Thank you so much for setting the record straight in an eloquent and compelling manner. Your integrity complements your credibility. I will say that Larry Kramer's termagant tactics, while appropriate in some circumstances, are not appropriate in all circumstances, and certainly not in this instance. I was deeply offended by comments he made last year on this topic and felt he crossed a line that made me lose all respect for him. He seems to think that being HIV positive himself and being a staunch gay rights crusader, that it gives him license to say anything, irrespective of the pain that it might cause others. His tirade last year on this topic brought to mind the famous statement uttered by Joe Welch to Senator Joe McCarthy during the hearings bearing the Senator's name: "Have you no sense decency, sir, at long last??!!" After he crossed that line, I lost all respect for him. And I applaud you for rising above this particular fray and praising the work, despite the ethical and emotional shortcomings of the artist who created it.

I have never seen this play but I believe based on reviews read that it is important for it to be made into a film on the big or small screen. The AIDS crisis is far from over in the gay community though people might think so. If Larry and Barbra can put aside their differences, work together, and get it made we would all really appreciate it.

Barbra, I am a big fan and have no doubt that your directorial vision would have brought something truly special to what I agree is a devastatingly moving play. No disrespect to Ryan Murphy, but pitting his directorial output against yours, there simply is no comparison. Much as I feel to this day that it was both sad and unfortunate that Peter Yates and Bruce Beresford edged you out of a much-deserved Oscar nomination, I find myself saddened that Murphy wins out on this. You have MY vote on this and my full support!

Dear Barbra!!!!
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for gay rights and for so many other worthwhile causes.
I love you!!! Greetings from Argentina!

Your passion for your projects is unprecedented; and THE NORMAL HEART with you at the helm would have been groundbreaking!

Films are a collaboration of writer, director and yes, even producers. As a screenwriter who recently adapted a book for the screen, I was grateful that the author understood the dynamics required to go from one medium to the other. And when I recently heard that a young director signed on to my original spec script, I welcomed his notes, which only served to make the film even better. People need to know that movies aren't a finished product until they have wrapped production; a labor of love to say the least.

A Barbra Streisand film is long overdue and I hope that you have other projects in the works! Thanks for setting the record straight on this subject, (no pun intended!)

I'm not going to comment on the Kramer vs. Barbra stuff. I am going to "The Normal Heart " on May 19th in New York !!
Quite excited to see this play after so many years of the film percolating as a possible film directed by Miss Streisand. I was happy to notice that Barbra hasn't closed the door on playing Dr. Emma Brookner in the Ryan Murphy film. Now, that would be a very sweet professional outcome !!

I've had half a mind to go picket in front of the theatre where "The Normal Heart" is playing demanding that Larry stop the "Barbra Bashing." I may still do it. Who's with me?

Barbra, I am a gay man, and I suppose that makes me part of the gay community. But speaking as an individual, I have always been very grateful for your support of civil liberties in general, and gay rights in particular.

The first time I laid eyes on you in person was at the Normal Heart reading at the Roundabout back in '93. I remember looking back from my seat in the second row as you wiped tears away during the curtain call. It was a memorable night for many reasons, including Stockard Channing's impassioned second act speech as Emma, which stopped the reading with an ovation that seemed to last forever.

If Larry Kramer was unhappy with your vision of the film (regardless of the size your on screen roll may or may not have eventually taken) than he was free to walk away. Don't let this unpleasentness bother you too much. There are many, many of us who appreciate all you've done.

Brava, Barbra....

Yes, it's sad that it has come down to this, but as someone who has waited for years to see this to fruition - and wondering what the heck was going on - your Truth Alert clears up many things.

Hopefully, this will clean the air and serve as some sort of positive force to get this work produced so a world-wide audience can experience "The Normal Heart".

Your efforts are lauded, and well-intentioned devotion applauded.

Tom from Texas

When you want to know where someone's heart is, attach dollar signs to it and their real self will manifest. Larry Kramer was a jackass for not working with you. If he really cared about "the cause", the amount of money would not have mattered, you do "whatever" you can to forward your cause. His holding out for one million dollars has cost him how many years? 25? Now, that proves he is a jackass. I bet he would've agreed to rewrites for the one million dollars! Now, his play is not that relevant, as it was then. Yes, the fight is still on, but as we look back in history at his play, we say: "yeah, that was an interesting story, but too bad Kramer self destructed the whole project! Next." Barbra, you did everything you could. You were the one with all the theater/cinematography/directing/producing experience, and he had none. The world knows that, and he needs to get over himself, because the world is "so over Larry Kramer!" What a classless person to act the way he acts with the media. Thank you Barbra for your statement, even though it was not necessary, as the majority of people believed you from the start.

Larry Kramer is one of the true heroes of the gay rights movement and advancing the cause of research, prevention and treatment where AIDS is concerned. There are probably not enough ways he can be saluted for his endeavors in these matters.

However . . .

He's well known for his my-way-or-the-highway stance on most matters. It is indeed tragic that "The Normal Heart" has yet to reach the large audience a motion picture version could reach, but it is his refusal to cooperatively collaborate with others on the project that has created this situation. Given his reputation, it is hard to believe anyone would accept a version where the failure of this project is laid at anyone's feet but his own.

I've been hearing all about the Normal Heart for years...we'd get our hopes up, and then nothing would happen (which is one reason why no one tries to get excited about Gypsy...promises and then nothing)...however, I believe that the truth lies somewhere between Larry and Barbra...we'll never know exactly what went down here. All I know is that this great work still has not been made...Julia Roberts said NO? I sincerely wonder why...great choice of Bradley Cooper...Ellen Barkin is doing a sensational job right now...on Bway..the current version is PHENOMENAL and it will likely win quite a few Tony Awards. I could see why Larry would hold out for $1M...this is his baby, the claim to his fame...so why not? I just would like the arguing to stop...and someone to put their money where they mouth is and make it....

Well, There you go. I personally am impressed by that obvioulsy honest and straight forward response to these - well, what seem like lies.
I hope you stay this way. I am one who becomes furious about this kind of stuff and lets fly.. I reckon let the world know the truth, in just the way you did this post. Good on you!

I have read a few things about this "stoush " between you and Larry, but cannot beleive it has dragged on for this long. Movie and play rights are extremely complicated, and it must be so easy for Larry to throw the blame at Barbra Streisand for this waste of years. Let's face it, the entertainment world has some pretty strange judgements about this talented woman. All these studios etc, are still scared of a woman with personality, ambition and talent to back it up, even in 2011. ( Thanks for Yentl, brave, beautiful and poignant.) Michelle

Thank you, Barbra, for finally writing about this!

I know you are tenacious with projects you feel deeply about (YENTL!) and it was a sad day when I read that THE NORMAL HEART would be moving forward without your involvement ... I know the history of the project and how long you'd been involved. I think Mr. Kramer's play is amazing (the new Broadway version is getting great reviews) and also IMPORTANT -- I think a film version could be more important than MILK was for the gay community.

I hope that, despite all of the finger-pointing, you and Mr. Kramer could work things out. Money aside, your contribution to the piece would be invaluable, and Mr. Kramer should certainly realize that passion always outweighs money. He should be so lucky to have your incredible energy behind his passionate, timely play.

Good luck to you both ... And here's hoping we'll see a "Directed by Barbra Streisand" title card on the silver screen soon --- after GYPSY?

Smiling

Matt Howe
"Barbra Archives" website

Thank you for responding to Larry in a rational way. I am very disturbed by his ongoing public discourse about you and this project. I do not personally know Larry but travel in some of the same circles. He seems to have a penchant for volatile, emotional (as you call them) outbursts.

It is unfortunate that someone with a public platform would use it in this way. There have been many achievements for the Gay community in my lifetime. However, there is much more to be done. Larry has been a force for positive change in the past but that was a long time ago. He could still be, if that were his focus. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be.

Maybe your statement will touch him in someway and he will be able to move on. It is sad to see him resort to distortions and untruths to feel comfortable with his part in the history of The Normal Heart.

Ron Amato

Barbra!

It would be so wonderful if this movie could be made. I know the feeling of having a great story that you want to share with the entire world. The heart and time you put into a project just to hear somebody say “NO!”. I know you’ve got a strong will and if you’re not able to make this movie happen, then it’s a really tough one! Maybe I should start with affirmations every day? And if people around the world started to do the same maybe we could bring the movie to life together?

I would love to work with you on a movie set someday and absorb all the knowledge I possibly could from you. You are a huge inspiration to me and my moviemaking, I’ve learned so much from you and your movies. I really admire your strength and strong will and it’s something I can relate to. People often say to me that I have a strong artistic integrity. Maybe that is something I’ve learned from watching you and other strong female directors?

I really hope you will make a movie again. It would be truly wonderful!

Best wishes,
Malin Cramer
Swedish screenwriter and director

Like you said, Barbra, your fight for equality for gay people is a fact in history and speaks for itself. As a gay man, I will never forget your impassioned speech about the AIDS crisis when you were honored by AMFAR in Los Angeles in 1992. I was so pissed at the media covering the event for focusing on a small part of your speech about Colorado (you NEVER advocated a boycott of Colorado as the news media stated). Rest assured, Barbra, that your gay fans continue to support you and thank you for your efforts (for decades, by the way!) to demand equal rights for the LGBT community.

As a gay man, I can think of no other person who uses their celebrity and voice in such an extraordinary way to promote civil rights for all. And we all know that and thank you for it.

-Jeff Bazell
Portland, Oregon

thanks you barbra...for years i have heard how you were responsible for the movie never being made and i never believed it and it is very nice to know i was right....and what a classy lady to have held your tongue and not lash back when he was bad mouthing you for all these years...you always were and always will be the "greatest star"

Thats to bad Larry was so bull headed - you did all that you could- went above and beyond to try and get this made - i give you alot of credit for all the time and effort you put into this to try and make it work. Thank you for trying to bring this story to everyone.

That really sounds like the truth to me!

You have to stick to your guns Barbra, glad you did. I don't know a thing about directing, but if you can't make a story come alive full of truth the way you see and feel it should be done it wouldn't be right to do it. Some people, as you know, in life can't see or understand the real truth, I guess fear has a lot to do with it. One can only hope though life's personal experience's they eventually understand, deep down we are all the same inside with fears and hopes with the basic true foundation of life, when you strip everything else away, is love, pure, strong and simple, nothing else really matters. Who you love is such a personal choice and should be left to the individual. I can say this now that I'm older, I was engaged to a gay man many years ago, he broke my heart. When he told me he was gay it broke my heart. He said he couldn't live a lie to himself or me. I found him recently after 30 years, gay and as gorgeous as ever, and still has his one and only girlfriends picture of me on his mantle piece. I'm so proud of him, so difficult to 'come out' in the 70's. I understand about being gay now, I didn't back in the 70's. I have a wonderful friend who's shared his love his pain and his joy with me. I am so blessed. You have to experience things sometimes in life, as you only too well know to understand some things. For the people who don't accept or understand, finally I just accept them. They don't know any better no matter what you say to them o show them, some have to actually experience it in their life. I'm so glad I did, through my pain, finally much joy came.

Thank you, Barbra for once again "setting the record straight". I honestly don't know how you are able to endure all of the lies and fabrications, especially when it is the exact opposite that is the truth!
I also wish Larry luck with this wonderful project. SO many of us appreciate your dedicated work on it's behalf even if Larry doesn't.
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for gay rights and for so many other worthwhile causes.
With love and respect,
Brian Gold

Sounds like Larry is a dick. A spoiled, petulant child who cannot get his way. No man in an island, but can wind up on a deserted one with an attitude like that. He is not hurting anyone but himself.

The story will be told because it has to be told.

Diana

Barbra,

I'd like to see the actual transcripts of this conversation between you and Mr. Kramer - in long form! LOL!!!!!!

I'm so glad to see that you felt it was time to set the record straight after all these years. The fact that you held down and kept quiet while Mr. Kramer ranted and raged over the issue is such a class act.

We can only move forward and wish that, however the film is to be made, that it would be made well. We are looking forward to your new film(s) and will continue to support, and believe in, your efforts in your work and in your passion to make this world a better place.

Thank You, Barbra!

Adriano Abatayo
(The artist who drew your portrait that you auctioned off in your last auction in October 2009)