Barbra Streisand Gives Perfect Interview to the Times, Is Perfect
Buried within the Movie section of this weekend's New York Times is an interview with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, who are promoting their upcoming project The Guilt Trip, a movie about which I have no opinion. Between the title ("It's a road trip with a physical destination, yes, but it's also an emotional trip, you know?") and the awful winking posters plastered everywhere, it seems safe to say it will not be good, but nothing is certain. That said, this interview is full of absolute treasures, every single one of which falls from Barbra Streisand's lips. Seth Rogen said things too, but they are of no interest for our purposes (he likes working but also being at home, he seems smart and unobjectionable and I have nothing else to say on the matter).
There were also, oddly, several joking references to mother-son incest in the interview (Streisand: "I read [the script] out loud with [my son] in bed. Don't take this wrong. He was recovering from back surgery"). Not so many references that the conversation became ruinously uncomfortable, but certainly enough to give a reader pause ("There's no making out in the movie...That's the sequel").
Related: how far into the A Song of Ice and Fire series did you get before you had to fling one of the books across the room and announce that your incest saturation levels had been reached? For me it was book three.
Barbra on Seth Rogen:
"Were you a little scared before you met me?"
You can tell me. I don't mind. You were, of course, there's no need to say so now. But do. Say it. Say it to the nice little reporter the Times sent over. Say it.
Barbra on eating a 50-ounce steak:
That's where the filmmaker in me came out. The actress did not want to do that scene. I said, "Can you come up with something other than eating?" But I thought it would serve the film so I said: "O.K. I'll do it." But it was hard. I don't eat steak. One bite for me is enough. So they had to devise a way to make things look like steak. I still had to eat it for three days.
"Can you come up with something other than eating?" "Can you come up with something other than eating?" A koan. A Zen riddle. It cannot be answered or comprehended. It can only be entered into and experienced. "Can you come up with something other than eating?"
Barbra on The Guilt Trip:
I like to refer to this as "a different kind of love story." It's not ha-ha funny. There's no sight gags or anything. It's about a mother and son getting to know one another.
Sight gags! It's wildly endearing, somehow, that Barbra Streisand's go-to reference for what makes a comedy is "sight gags." There aren't any - there are no pie sequences in this picture, understand? Nobody wears a funny little hat with a broom mustache. No giant trousers or seltzer bottles here. Just love.
Barbra on improv:
I did with Dustin [Hoffman] on "The Fockers." We were in the same acting school when I was 16, 17 years old. I used to baby-sit to get free acting lessons, and he was the janitor. So Dustin and I, we could do that. Not many people can do that, I find.
THAT needs to be the movie. Why isn't this a movie? Young Dustin Hoffman is The Janitor. Someone make this immediately.
Barbra oh Zach Galifianakis:
In life I'm not a prude. In film I'm still a prude. Like when I saw that movie, "Hangover," with the guy, Javalopolis?...Galafanakinis?...He was naked in the elevator, and I heard later it was not his real thing. But everybody thinks it's his real thing...[T]hat's the advice I'm going to give you: [To Rogen] Don't stoop so low."
No one show her this, then (No, it's not a Green Hornet thing. Honestly, I think it was interesting to see him try something different, even if it didn't work).
Barbra on The Fockers:
I never saw the complete movie. I was in Europe spa-ing, going from spa to spa. And they were sending me bits to O.K. So I would download them and watch the bits on my computer. It's the first time in my life I never saw the whole movie.
"Spa-ing, going from spa to spa." Drifting from masseuse to masseuse in a lavender-scented haze, trusting the cucumber-wrapped hands that gently handed her down the Seine would carry her in perfect faith and perfect love. Perhaps it is possible, if you are very determined, to visit only one spa at a time; she wouldn't know.