Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Steisand and writer/gay activist Larry Kramer's friendship is under strain as the two engage in heated arguements over their failed attempt to turn his 1985 AIDS epidemic play, The Normal Heart, into a movie.

Kramer has blamed Streisand's diva-like behaviour for holding up the adaptation after she attacked him in a recent interview in Entertainment Weekly.

Steisand called Kramer "brilliant, courageous, stubborn, and self-destructive" She continued "I love this play, and I love its cause... I was using the best of it. But there are certain things you do for a film. Larry only wanted to use his screenplay. I couldn't have my hands tied artistically."

Kramer claims that Streisand rewrote the script, determind to make her character the star.

He accused Streisand of of cutting the lead characters part so much that when the role was offered to a mjor star who had pervious played the character on stage he said "I can't play this. The character has no motivation anymore." Kramer thought Streisand to have "subsumed all of the motivations into her character, as the doctor."

Streisand denied the accusations. She says, "Larry's claim that I wanted to expand the role of the doctor to make her the star and marginalise the gay characters is nonsense."

The actress/director bought the film rights to The Normal Heart after seeing its original Off Broadway incarnation in 1985. She then spent 10 years working with Kramer and another screenwriter to adapt the story.

She claims that Kramer rejected a deal of $250,000 from HBO executives to turn the play into a TV project. "He wanted a million dollars. Larry held out for the money. I didn't. Why not advance your cause? Why keep this movie unseen for all those years?" She said.

Kramer came back by saying that he had never heard of such an offer and that Streisand was constantly abandoning the project to work on other movies.

He says, "She's a mighty force, and I certainly agree she has done a good deal for the gay world. She just wasn't going to make this movie right."

It's thought that Glee creator Ryan Murphy will now be directing the film, and Streisand may still be onboard for the role of the doctor, opposite Mark Ruffalo.

Streisand still has a deep connection to this play and continues to feel passionately about it: "If I could direct it today, I would direct it today, because it has been very hard for me to find a piece that I feel as passionate about. I mean, I love this play."

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