Enough with the dogs, let's talk about how Nick coulda been sweeter to Babs on The Prince of Tides

February 28, 2018

This was such a good movie. And they dealt with two of the toughest topics out there: suicide and child rape. This was Barbara Streisand's second time in the director's chair so you would think she'd have an easier time of it. She did not. Have you ever felt minimized or disrespected by a male subordinate in your office? How about a group of men working for you? That's the experience Barbara Streisand had making The Prince of Tides, but all people seem consumed with today are her dogs. (Yes, cloning an animal is weird and a waste when so many need loving homes but we're missing a bigger conversation here).

In a new interview, Barbara talks about her experiences as a director and what it was like to make that transition. As a director on a film, you are the big boss. You're calling the shots and every director wants it how he/she wants it. And that's appropriate because its their vision on telling the story that everyone else is following. She tells a couple of stories about Nick Nolte pushing back when she told him not to change the dialogue and how he helped undermine her authority with the crew. Here's an excerpt from the Variety article:

Streisand’s decision to transition into directing movies paved the way for other A-list actresses — Jodie Foster, Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman — to do the same. It wasn’t so easy in her time. Streisand recalls that on the set of “Yentl,” which took 14 years to make, she was greeted with open arms by her overseas crew. “Europe had a queen,” she says. “Europe had a woman prime minister. They totally respected me, accepted me, as a first-time director.”

The experience was drastically different on her second movie, “The Prince of Tides,” which was shot in the United States. She recalls how one day, she told her co-star Nick Nolte that he couldn’t change the words in his scene. “When I cut, they have to match,” she told him. “And he said, ‘No, no, you don’t see my mouth from over there.’ He starts talking to the camera guy. And he says, ‘You don’t see my mouth moving, do you?’ The guy says no. I have my monitor right over there. I look back, and of course you can see his mouth. I go over to the camera operator, and I say, ‘Why did you just lie to him?’ He says, ‘It’s the boys’ club.’ Can you imagine? They were protecting him.”

Another memory of that shoot still bothers her. She wanted everyone to stay a little late, because Nolte was in a head space where she thought he could nail a scene that called for his character to be tired. But the camera operator and the crew banded together and told her they wanted to go home. Nolte took their side (although he called her later that night to apologize). “So I had to walk off the set. It would have literally taken 10 minutes, but they were fucking with me.” The next morning, Nolte needed 17 takes to get it right, because he was too rested. “Today I wouldn’t ask the question,” Streisand says. “I would tell them. And if you don’t want to do it, don’t bother to come back to work tomorrow. I wouldn’t be afraid of that. But then, I was afraid of it.”

No one would pull this kind of crap with Ron Howard or Joel Coen. And Barbara was already a big deal; remember, Yentl won Golden Globes for Best Picture and Best Director. It's amazing because this happens to women everywhere in every industry. So next time you're feeling insecure