Barbra Streisand asked Robert Redford to do 'take after take' of sex scene in 'The Way We Were,' book claims

Barbra Streisand's first sex scene with Robert Redford in the sweeping romantic drama "The Way We Were" allegedly took two days to film - to producer Ray Stark's dismay.

The claim was made by Robert Hofler, who wrote a book about the making of the 1973 film titled "The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen."

The book, timed to the 50th anniversary of the film's release, explores how the instant classic was "a nightmare to make, with a difficult cast, a jumbled plot about mismatched partners, countless delays and rewrites, on-set tensions between everyone involved, difficulties at every step of the production, the skyrocketing demands of Ms. Streisand, a leading man who happily ditched premieres on both coasts and mixed critical reviews."

The Way They Were Book Cover
The Way They Were Book Cover  

Reps for Redford, 86, and Streisand, 80, did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.


"Streisand asked for take after take with Redford atop her," Hofler told Fox News Digital. "There's no reason a scene like that should take two days. That's how many takes there were. The movie was already going over budget and over schedule. Ray Stark was particularly upset that it took two days to film. The only thing I can think of in terms of why it took two days to film is because Barbra Streisand wanted to do take after take. Redford does nothing in the scene. He's lying there asleep and at one point, he moves on top, kisses her on the neck and falls asleep."


But there may have been a good reason why filming the scene dragged on. In the book, Hofler alleged that Streisand was "infatuated" and "mesmerized" with her co-star, who was playing a "Ken doll," as Redford himself described.

Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford circa 1973 in New York City.
Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford circa 1973 in New York City.  

"Various people on the set told me that Streisand had a mad crush on Redford, and in previous interviews, both [director] Sydney Pollack and [writer] Arthur Laurents said the same thing," Hofler explained. "It was very obvious to everyone that she had a crush on him. One thing that I did in the book is that I talked about all the other actresses who co-starred with him, who also admitted to having crushes on him. Meryl Streep admitted to having a crush on him. She once said, 'Robert Redford is the best kisser in Hollywood.' Now, she'd already made several films with some great-looking guys. Natalie Wood also thought he was a gorgeous man."

"But by the time Redford worked with Streisand, he was a happily married man with four kids," Hofler shared. "He was never one of those people you heard about, even in the grapevine, having affairs. He kept things extremely professional. And he didn't even want to meet with Barbra in the first place. When it came to his films, he wanted everything to be spontaneous… It was also very well known in Hollywood that Barbra had affairs with her leading men. Not all of them, though. She loathed Walter Matthau in 'Hello Dolly.' They loathed each other."


"But when it came to that love scene, Barbra asked for take after take," Hofler insisted. "Robert finally gave a look to [director] Sydney Pollack - one that said, 'I've had enough.'"

Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford on the set of
Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford on the set of 'The Way We Were'  

According to the book, Redford wore "two athletic supporters" to "protect himself in more ways than one," while Streisand "chose to don a bikini."

"He didn't use it to protect himself from her," Hofler clarified. "Nowadays, you would have an intimacy coach… I did a book called 'Sexplosion,' which is about movies and novels that broke sexual taboos between 1968 and 1973. One of the movies I covered was 'Midnight Cowboy.' In Jon Voight's bedroom scene, they glued something over his crotch. It was very gooey and supposedly a total mess."

"But there were all kinds of intimacy things that actors did," he shared. "When it came to filming those types of scenes, there's some kind of material that people used to protect themselves from each other, private-wise. I did an interview once with a very young actress. She'd never done a love scene before. There was a very famous actor - I won't tell you who - but he said to her, 'Don't be offended if I'm aroused, and don't be offended if I'm not aroused.'


According to sources, Streisand had a \"mad crush\" on her co-star.
According to sources, Streisand had a \"mad crush\" on her co-star.  

"But in the case of Redford and Streisand, the supporters were simply an intimacy thing even though Redford refuted it. But if you look at the scene, he could be wearing armor… And I thought it was kind of clever of Streisand… It was a very closed set. I talked to a couple of people who were there, and they just talked about it going on and on."

Redford would later joke to a Newsweek reporter that the only thing he wore on set was Aramis, the Estée Lauder fragrance for men. Hofler pointed out that the quip mimicked what Marilyn Monroe said when she was asked about her nude calendar photographs that ended up in Playboy. "I had nothing on but the radio," the blonde bombshell teased.

During their second love scene, Redford allegedly refused to say the line, "It will be better this time." It is believed the actor assumed the audience would think he was bad in bed.

Redford allegedly refused to say the line, \"It will be better this time.\"
Redford allegedly refused to say the line, \"It will be better this time.\"  

"Through an email exchange, I asked him why he refused to say the line and Redford did not answer my question, although he answered several other questions," said Hofler. "Again, Ray Stark was furious and wanted the scene reshot with the line clearly spoken, 'It'll be better this time,' which the producer thought was 'chivalrous' of [the character] Hubbell. But by that time, Pollack had taken Redford's position on the line, saying it was 'superfluous.' Previously, Pollack had found the line important. Laurents also found it important and freaked out in a memo about Redford's refusal to say it."


Pollack was said to be too "exhausted" to shoot the film about a week after it began. While the chemistry between Streisand and Redford was undeniable, Redford had concerns about working with his leading lady from the start.

"Streisand had this habit of calling Pollack every night to discuss what had happened that day and what they were going to do the next day," Hofler explained. "He spoke very highly of Streisand, but he thought, 'Can you just relax?'… And there was a bit of a tug-of-war between Redford and Streisand. He was reluctant to work with her. He didn't think she had been tested as a dramatic actress. He also feared that she would be very controlling and end up directing the movie. He just didn't want the film to be turned into a Barbra Streisand musical."

Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand filming
Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand filming  

"I knew an actor from 'Funny Girl' who played the delivery boy who gives Streisand a bouquet at the train station before she sings 'Don't Rain on My Parade,'" Hofler shared. "He said it took three days to film his coming in and giving her a bouquet of roses… He said he'd never seen anyone so arrogant on set as Barbra Streisand."

The other objection Redford had involved another memorable scene.


"At the very end of the film in front of the Plaza Hotel, when Streisand pushed back the bangs on Redford's forehead for the fourth and last time, Redford was supposed to say 'gray,'" said Hofler. "But the word was clearly crossed out."

Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand share a scene in
Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand share a scene in  

"One could surmise that if Redford was never bad in bed that he was also never going to go 'gray,'" he added.

"The Way We Were" went on to become one of the most popular movies of the year. Made for about $5 million, it brought in 10 times that at the box office. It ranked No. 6 in the American Film Institute's list of top romantic movies. The title song, powered by Streisand, was Billboard's top single of 1974.


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