Bil Browning

Diva Fight! Babs Gets Testy With Larry Kramer

Filed By Bil Browning | May 11, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Barbra Streisand, diva fight, Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart

Apparently Larry Kramer has been telling folks that the reason The Normal Heart was never made into a movie was because Barbra Streisand wanted to change the script to make herself the star. Babs has taken issue with the charge CSF Wrestling - Faith Lehaine vs Skarlett Venomand posted a lengthy screed on her website to rebut Larry's charges.

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.
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.

I know the Diva Fight has already started, but I'm still willing to accept bets on who wins in the end. My money's on Babs. (imgsrc)

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Rick Sutton | May 11, 2011 6:08 PM

Oh hell yes Babs will win.

Duh. She sleeps with James Brolin.

The Normal Heart opened recently to stellar reviews, so I doubt Kramer's vision is at fault.

I wouldn't doubt at all how TNH would receive the Brokeback treatment where the straight shit gets overemphasized and the gay perspective gets the shaft.

Josh is saying to his step-mother about now ... "Should have ... 'Milk'?"

Plenty of things get stellar reviews. It's about how accepting Broadway is compared to mainstream cinema.

I haven't seen A Normal Heart, but I don't think Barbra's wrong by suggesting that changes would need to be made for a distributor to be okay with making something unapologetic as it probably is.

There's probably a reason why Angels in America was a mini-series on HBO instead of a feature film.

I saw an interview with Larry on Gay USA and he was talking about a film version being made with Mark Ruffalo, but that he wasn't being clued in to its progress. So apparently someone is now getting the job done, but without his participation. No word about BS, though.

Larry does have a very singular view of the world. I'm not sure it always comports with everyone elses.

Larry Kramer is known for his idiosyncratic inflexibility -- I wouldn't rush to risk mega-millions on a project involving him, either.

I was trying to be diplomatic. The last thing anyone needs is to be in Larry's crosshairs.

DennisNYC | May 12, 2011 1:39 AM

My money's on BS's being the true version. She's obviously gay sensitive, so I strongly doubt that she wanted to "straighten" out this extremely important story.

As for the stage version being a hit... it's true. The play is wonderful. But a stage treatment and a screenplay are two very different things. What works within the confines of a stage almost always has to be re-invisioned... opened up for the screen, where there are no walls.

I'm inclined to agree with Barbara - theater is a different medium than film. There are a few plays that have been directly transferred to film, but it doesn't always work out well without touching up the script. Boys in the Band is an exception.