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Barbra Streisand, the co-star of the 1976 remake of A Star is Born (along with Kris Kristofferson), thought the version that saw Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper getting top billing would’ve tried to be a little more innovative when they re-booted it prior to its 2018 theatrical release.
The 79-year-old singer and actress said as much during an appearance on the Australian talk show The Project while promoting her new compilation album, Release Me 2.
Her opinion was formed, at least in part, by the fact that she had heard the original remake premise was to re-boot the story with Will Smith and Beyonce in the starring roles. Note this is something she had spoken on before (more on that below).
“At first, when I heard it was going to be done again, it was supposed to be Will Smith and Beyonce. I thought, that’s interesting. Really make it different again, different kind of music, integrated actors, I thought that was a great idea,” said Streisand. “So, I was surprised when I saw how alike it was to the version that I did in 1976.”
For the non-cinema buffs/cinema buffs whose attention was directed elsewhere, the 1976 version with Streisand and Kristofferson was a remake of a 1954 movie that had Judy Garland and James Mason in the co-starring roles. There was also A Star Is Born film from 1937 that starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March.
Streisand did acknowledge the major box office triumph of the 2018 film (it pulled in more than $436 million worldwide). But that wasn’t her No. 1 concern.
“I thought it was the wrong idea, but, look, it was a big success, so I can’t argue with success, but I don’t care so much about success as I do originality,” she added.
In addition to the Smith and Beyonce rumors that Streisand mentioned, other names attached to the top parts at some point included: Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christian Bale.
Lots of hypotheticals. Anyway, the final product ended up getting eight nominations during the 2019 Oscars, winning one of those for Best Original Song for “Shallow.”
Previously, during a 2018 profile featured in Variety, Streisand said more about the idea she says she thought would be implemented. If this sounds familiar it means your short-term memory stretches back at least 30 seconds.
“I think [Cooper] did a wonderful job with [directing Gaga]. I thought when it was going to be done [with Beyoncé] it was going to be very different and have a multiracial cast, and the music was going to be rap,” she said. “But it’s more like the movie I made.”
Streisand had visited the set for the Gaga/Cooper version, as revealed to Entertainment Weekly by both of those stars.
“She gave us a blessing. Everybody was so excited she was [on set]. We just looked at each other and were like, ‘Wow. How are we here right now?’” said Cooper.
Lady Gaga added that Streisand was “so, so kind.”
You can watch Streisand’s interview with The Project below. The A Star is Born stuff come up around 4:57: