Barbra Streisand Responds to Larry Kramers Allegations

Correcting Larry Kramer –

The Truth About Our

Effort To Make

The Normal Heart

Larry Kramer does not need me to publicize his beautiful play.
It stands on its own. For the last time – I will answer his complaints,
which rewrite history.

When I saw the play in 1985 I was very moved and
immediately contacted Larry to acquire the rights. After going through
several drafts with Larry, I hired another writer to develop a
screenplay that was faithful to Larry’s play — but adapting it to make
it more cinematic. It was finished in 1995. Ralph Fiennes and Kenneth
Branagh were interested in doing the version that I oversaw.

I tried very hard to get it made, but when it became
clear that we couldn’t raise the money to do it as a film due to the
controversial nature of the material, 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 and no company was willing to move on
it.

After ten years, the rights reverted back to Larry. But
even when I had no contractual involvement, I still persisted in
pressing to get The Normal Heart made, purely because I believed in the
project. As producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron can confirm, I thought
that if we could get a great cast together, maybe a studio would finally
finance it and we could persuade Larry to let us do it. I offered the
part of the doctor to Julia Roberts because I thought she would be
terrific. I also asked Mark Ruffalo and Bradley Cooper to be in it, and
they said yes to my adaptation of the screenplay. By the way, this is
not to say that it wouldn’t have been rewritten again. The work is
never done until the movie is released.

I think it’s unfair to keep blaming me for the movie not
getting made. I worked on it for 25 years, without pay. Larry 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.

More recently, he sent me a note before giving the
project to another director, asking me again if I wanted to direct it —
but only with his screenplay. As a filmmaker, I couldn’t have my hands
tied like that. What if I needed changes? Sadly, I turned his offer
down and wished him well.

I will always believe in Larry’s play and its powerful theme about everyone’s right to love.

© 2012 Barbra Streisand