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Much anticipated for Barbra Streisand was her old flame scene with Robert Redford within the movie The Way We Were. “Streisand was a star who reportedly had had affairs with lots of her main males,” mentioned one member of the manufacturing staff.
A notable besides was Walter Matthau on the set of Hello, Dolly! The two stars famously loathed one another from virtually the primary day of manufacturing on that film musical. Unlike Elliott Gould in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, or Sydney Chaplin within the Funny Girl stage musical, or Omar Sharif within the film model, or Ryan O’Neal in What’s Up Doc?, Redford was a fortunately married household man with 4 kids when he signed to do The Way We Were in June 1972. Initially, he even refused his new main girl’s request for the customary first assembly earlier than manufacturing started. Streisand had requested and he or she requested, and at last, Streisand requested the movie’s director, Sydney Pollack, “Why can’t I sit and speak with Bob Redford? I’m going to behave with him within the film.” Pollack needed to inform Streisand that her new costar most popular the spontaneity of not rehearsing, of not assembly her beforehand. The information didn’t set effectively with the notoriously punctilious performer.
“Finally, it began to get harmful,” mentioned Pollack, and he had no selection however to inform Redford, an in depth good friend, “You’ve acquired to go, as a result of she’s beginning to take it personally.”
The long-delayed assembly was set on Streisand’s turf, at her Holmby Hills property. Redford left his spouse, Lola, at house in Utah however insisted that Pollack accompany him to the dinner. He needed to maintain this strictly skilled. Pollack understood Redford’s methodology past the mere truth of his not desirous to sleep along with his subsequent main girl.
“He believes very strongly that the strangeness contributes to the chemistry in a film,” mentioned Pollack. “Strangeness” precisely describes the primary scenes in The Way We Were taking pictures schedule, the place Streisand performs a university pupil 5 years youthful than herself, and Redford is an efficient decade older than his character. It is that stage within the relationship between Katie Morosky, the Jewish communist, and Hubbell Gardiner, the attractive Gentile jock, “when she was speculated to be awkward with him,” mentioned Pollack.
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According to the director, Streisand turned infatuated with Redford at that dinner. “Barbra was delighted as a result of she had a crush on him, even earlier than we began,” he revealed. “It was exhausting for girls to not have a fixation, as a result of he was in all places, like Elvis. He was the golden boy lengthy earlier than Hubbell got here alongside.”
For maybe the one time, Arthur Laurents agreed with Pollack, who had already fired the screenwriter concerning wanted adjustments within the authentic script. “She was merely mesmerized by him as a result of she discovered him so stunning,” mentioned Laurents. “She was infatuated with Robert Redford, who dealt with it effectively, neither encouraging her nor utilizing her crush to his benefit.”
When it got here to their old flame scene within the film, Redford protected himself in additional methods than one. He wore two athletic supporters, whereas Streisand selected to don a bikini.
“It was a fairly G-rated scene,” the movie’s second assistant director Michael Britton recalled.
Indeed, producer Ray Stark had already cautioned that he didn’t need even “a closely shadowed nude scene.” The Way We Were was going to be PG rated, simply because it was going to be two hours lengthy and never a minute extra. Stark had already deleted a “fuck” within the script for a similar cause: He needed the biggest viewers potential, and a dreaded R ranking wouldn’t give him that.
While Pollack known as for a closed set, with solely him and the cinematographer current, Britton, a particular assistant to each the director and the main man, managed to be current for the two-day shoot in Katie’s condo, constructed on Stage 21 at Warner Bros. in Burbank, California. The scene required Redford to behave like he both was very drunk or was sleeping or each. It required Streisand to behave each nervous and thrilled as she slowly undresses to slide bare beneath the bedcover subsequent to her costar. From there, Hubbell rouses himself sufficient to maneuver on prime of Katie.
In the completed movie, it’s not clear whether or not he truly inserts himself, and most undoubtedly, neither character achieves orgasm. In Laurents’ novel, The Way We Were, printed in 1972, a yr earlier than the movie’s launch, there is no such thing as a doubt. Laurents wrote, “[T]hen he threw again the coverlet and rolled on prime of her, after which he was inside her.” The passage goes on to disclose that the intercourse could be very fast: he climaxes, and he or she doesn’t, and the one kiss she receives from him is on her neck. In each the novel and the film, when it’s clear that Hubbell has fallen asleep on prime of her—within the film, his sudden narcolepsy is cued by a minor key shift within the music—Katie says, “Hubbell. Hubbell. It’s Katie. You do realize it’s Katie?”
It was a easy scene. But “[t]right here had been quite a lot of takes,” Britton recalled. Finally, Redford eyed Pollack, giving him a glance that mentioned he’d had sufficient. Redford tended to do his greatest within the first take, possibly the second, not often the third, by no means the fourth. From there, he tended to lose power and focus. Since this scene required little from him besides the again of his head, Redford misplaced persistence and Pollack had no selection however to tell his feminine star, “I believe we’ve acquired it.” Even editor John Burnett was amazed at how a lot footage he needed to work with to place collectively the easy lovemaking scene.
Courtesy of Author/Photofest
Rumors circled that Streisand was not at her most relaxed for the two-day shoot. Pollack defended her therapy of the minuscule crew that day. “If Streisand has been in make-up since 6 a.m. and he or she walks on to a set at 8 a.m. and is requested to take her garments off, get beneath the covers, and do a love scene, and he or she’s shivering and self-conscious and he or she will get beneath the covers, and her thoughts is on the scene, and a few man comes over and shoves a lightweight meter in her face, she is liable to say, ‘Get the hell out of right here!’”
In Pollack’s opinion, that type of verbal explosion didn’t make Streisand “inconceivable.” He added, “She’s sure to explode. Then you hear folks saying, ‘Gee, what a bitch she is.’”
For his half, Redford appreciated to joke concerning the love scene. He paraphrased what Marilyn Monroe had mentioned again in 1953, when her nude calendar surfaced within the first problem of Playboy. “I had nothing on however the radio,” she teased reporters.
To the query about what he wore in mattress subsequent to Streisand, Redford advised a Newsweek reporter, “Aramis.”
Sometime between the primary love scene and the second love scene with Redford, Streisand made a rapid journey as much as San Francisco to attend the primary preview for her new movie. The viewers there appeared mystified by Up the Sandbox, which featured scenes that had been a “fantasy inside a fantasy inside a fantasy,” in response to its director. Post-preview, he and his star, who was additionally the movie’s producer, whacked out about twenty minutes of celluloid, trimming particularly all these costly fantasies shot in Africa. They each hoped for the perfect. Up the Sandbox would open earlier than Christmas however after The Way We Were wrapped—or was speculated to have wrapped, on November 30, 1972.
When she returned to the Warner Bros. lot on Monday, Streisand fed Redford grape after grape in entrance of a crackling hearth on Stage 21. It was the movie’s second love scene, and it follows the second when, on the road in entrance of Katie’s brownstone, he delights her along with his “What type of pie?” query after she frantically invitations him to dinner after their first evening of disappointing lovemaking.
Redford recited the “What type of pie?” line in New York City in early October. It was now late October, and the issue of continuity arose. When the couple enters Katie’s New York condo on Stage 21, every thing has to match what occurred on the road again in the actual metropolis on the East 50s. The script supervisor advised Redford, “You have the [grocery] packages in your left arm and hand. Your jacket is buttoned, however your tie is undone.”
Redford didn’t bear in mind it that manner. “Left arm? No… I had them in my proper,” he insisted.
Did he not bear in mind? Or was it one other Redford joke?
“A variety of actors have to eliminate their anxiousness in a roundabout way,” mentioned Britton. “Just a few actors scream and yell. Bob performs jokes.”
Another factor Robert loved doing on the set was asking how lengthy a setup would take after which asking, “When will I be wanted?”
“In half an hour,” he’d be advised.
“No, I don’t should be again for 3 hours. Give me half an hour.”
And so it might go.
In that second love scene, Hubbell tells Katie about his “drawing her face within the sand” on the seashore someday after school commencement. He additionally muses about imagining himself a high-flying “American eagle.” Laurents wrote neither of these speeches—not the face within the sand, not the American eagle. They got here courtesy of writers Alvin Sargent and David Rayfiel who had been employed to beef up the Hubbell position when Redford initially rejected Laurents’ authentic script, calling the character a “Ken doll.” He went on to complain, “And all I’m speculated to be is that this blond, blue-eyed hunk of romance that every one the women go loopy over, and I’ve completely nothing else to do within the image.”
Much to Laurents’ aid, whereas the scene was shot, the strains about “her face within the sand” and Hubbell being an “American eagle” had been minimize even earlier than the film was previewed for audiences in San Francisco in September 1973.
Much to Laurents’ dismay, a major line that he had put in each his novel and his screenplay was by no means spoken, and it was a line that he needed to cap the scene: Hubbell appears into Katie’s eyes after their orgy of grapes and tells her, “It’ll be higher this time.”
Only, Redford refused to say the road. He even made certain to have it crossed out within the working script.
His refusal right here replicated what had occurred on his earlier movie. In The Candidate, when his politician character, Bill McKay, tries to woo some voters, he makes the embarrassing fake pas of donning an indigenous folks’s ceremonial headdress. The movie’s screenwriter, Jeremy Larner, tried to clarify that every one these feathers on prime of his head would present how low a politician would stoop so as to win a number of votes, and so he “loses his integrity right here.”
Despite Larner’s clarification, Redford refused to put on the headdress. He didn’t care what the colourful however ridiculous plumage mentioned concerning the character. He thought it’d offend his associates within the Native American group, with whom he had bonded on a number of environmental points.
It was the identical factor concerning the road “It’ll be higher this time.” Redford was by no means unhealthy in mattress. So how may Hubbell be?
Stark exploded when he noticed the rushes for the 2 love scenes. In the primary scene, he strenuously objected to a teakettle shrieking within the kitchen. He known as it “shtik” and needed it taken out. It was not taken out. Pollack defended it, saying it added “humor” to a scene badly in want of it.
Stark authorized of just one factor: he appreciated that Streisand didn’t seem nude. Pollack had adopted his directions there. But he discovered that the 2 stars’ lovemaking lacked emotion. Somehow he discovered the outline within the script of Katie discovering Hubbell bare in mattress, “half-covered” solely by a sheet and loud night breathing, much more thrilling than “something” he noticed within the rushes. Throughout the manufacturing course of, the producer appeared to not have a transparent understanding of the film he was making. He particularly needed Streisand to indicate extra “humor” in her efficiency, one way or the other unaware that her enjoying a dedicated communist dominated out such irony. He additionally didn’t perceive that Hubbell’s lackluster efficiency in mattress is a part of what makes the second so poignant for Katie.
Much extra disappointing for Stark was the second love scene. He needed to know, Where was the road “It’ll be higher this time”?
In the novel The Way They Were, the second love scene begins with Hubbell telling Katie that she doesn’t put on the fitting garments. “Don’t you recognize you’re stunning?” he asks her.
She replies, “You are.”
The film stored the “stunning” alternate however disregarded any point out that Hubbell is perhaps a closet subscriber to Vogue journal.
Laurents delivered his most graphic second within the novel for the second love scene: “He ran his palms calmly over her physique, then ran his lips over her, then stood up and rapidly shucked off his garments, and as he slowly got here right down to her, he whispered, ‘It’ll be higher this time.’”
Stark and Laurents felt the road “It’ll be higher this time” established the truth that the couple had truly made love the primary time round, and that Hubbell is now exhibiting some humanity and possibly even some remorse for the way in which he handled Katie in his earlier drunken state of lovemaking. The producer believed the road was by no means an indictment that Hubbell, i.e., Robert Redford, was ever unhealthy in mattress. It confirmed an consciousness of their first time. It confirmed that he remembered. It confirmed that he was sorry. Stark went on to name it not solely romantic but in addition “chivalrous” of Hubbell to say the primary time. Stark admitted to Pollack that he had truly cried when he first learn the road, and he went on to disclose that others who’d learn the script advised him the identical factor. It had made them cry.
The line become an albatross for each Stark and Pollack. The producer would go on to reference it at the very least a dozen instances in as many memos. Especially upsetting to Stark was that Pollack had strongly agreed with him concerning the significance of the road—till Pollack realized that Redford wouldn’t say it, at which level the director thought-about it “superfluous.” Stark resented that Pollack known as him “cussed” on the topic, since his place, in contrast to the director’s, by no means modified. Suddenly, Stark didn’t care concerning the cash. He needed the scene reshot whatever the value.
Redford cooing to Streisand “It’ll be higher this time” was by no means shot.
“It’ll be higher this time” was not the final time that Redford omitted a line within the taking pictures script. In the movie’s closing scene, shot in entrance of the Plaza Hotel when Katie and Hubbell meet years later, in 1952, Streisand’s lengthy fingernails brushed apart the bangs on Redford’s brow for the fourth and closing time. As she did so, the script signifies a verbal response from Hubbell. The character was speculated to say, “Gray.”
But Redford by no means mentioned the phrase. If he was by no means unhealthy in mattress, he additionally was by no means going to go grey.
Excerpted from the forthcoming ebook The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen, printed by Citadel Press. c 2023.
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