Barbra Streisand Is Returning to the Director’s Seat for a Catherine the Great Biopic
When people think of Barbra Streisand, we think of her unforgettable onscreen roles in Funny Girl, The Way We Were, or A Star is Born. We think of her immortal vocal performances as the queen of all divas, the trembling longing and world-weariness of “people… people who need people…” We think of the heady period during the ’70s when proudly Jewish actors like Streisand and Elliott Gould dominated Hollywood as the sultriest sex symbols of the era. (Note: Why is this no longer the case?)
But her accomplished work as a director is a component no less essential to Babs’ legacy; the actress got behind the camera for three features — 1983’s Yentl, 1991’s The Prince of Tides, and then The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996 — and demonstrated a preternatural talent for it, earning a collected 14 Oscar nominations for the three films, and netting herself a Best Director Golden Globe for Yentl. More impressive still: Yentl was the first major studio film to be directed, produced, written by, and starring a woman.
Streisand was a woman of serious, lucid vision during her stint as an auteur, and so it comes as exciting news to hear that she’s breaking this informal hiatus to return to the director’s chair. Deadline posted today that Streisand has been coaxed back into the game by the opportunity to direct Catherine the Great, a biopic about the ruler that raised Russia to new highs during her reign in the 18th century. Clarifying the angle Streisand intends on taking with history, the Deadline item outlines the plot as follows:
The pic is about a sensual Catherine trapped in an abusive marriage with the heir to the Russian throne. But, when her inept husband proves incapable of ruling, she utilizes her intelligence, fortitude, and passion to rise to power, becoming Catherine the Great.
Royal intrigue? Feminist subtext? Streisand in the driver’s seat? Where did we leave that “shut up and take my money” jpeg…?