1972 Interview

Role in 'Up the Sandbox' Evokes the 'Real' Barbra


Barbra Streisand said she feels that the wife and mother she plays in her new film, "Up the Sandbox," is more the real "me" than the kook she portrayed in "What's Up, Doc?"

"I enjoyed making this picture because it deals with something very personal," she said yesterday at a luncheon interview with a group of Eastern region motion picture editors who had just seen her film in New York City.

"Part of me wants to be a housewife and mother and another isn't housewife and mother. I feel for this woman. I feel for all women. I want them to be heard. Their problems are universal."

Based on the best selling novel by Anne Richardson Roiphe, the film was directed by Irvin Kershner, who earlier told viewers that he believes "the most important thing happening today is the women's revolution." The film will open Friday at Cinema North.

Kershner said he found Miss Streisand a "sensitive, poetic person with an incredible sense of rhythm. She's a professional who worked in ensemble style. She'd say, 'Did you like it? Do you want me to do it again?"

Although the film about a fantasizing Manhattan housewife is delightfully comic in many respects, the director explained that to him it was a very serious picture.

He said he wanted the film to be "real" so he didn't use extras. The crew even went to Africa for three weeks of filming just outside the Sanburo Game Reserve, near Nairobi, using members of the Sanburo tribe. The women there do all the work, even to building the schoolhouse, which was partial payment for the tribe's work, he noted.

Capturing her questioners with her frank answers, Miss Streisand left the food on her plate, taking only a sip of a Coke, as she spoke in a low, carrying voice, often gesturing with her hands.

Her long, slim fingers with beautifully kept long nails in a bright shade of red were the only relief in her all-black garb. Her long, flowing hair was capped with a knit hat. She wore only light eye makeup, showing off her creamy skin. Close-up, she's a slim women whose "Neferiti" nose is a unique asset.

Questioned about what she would do on "vacation," she said she would stay in her West Side New York apartment and cook.

"I like to study languages," she said, mentioning French and Italian. "And I'd like to play the piano.

I like to stay home on vacation. I don't like to pack and unpack." When asked if there was anything special she would like to be or do, she said after a moment's thought that this would be in "personal areas."

However, she said she'd like to star in a ballet, do an opera, conduct an orchestra — "I have to be everything," she exclaimed. "Being alive is a fascinating thing to me. I find the idea a miracle!"

She got a laugh when she mentioned doing an album of "Follow the Lieder," with classical songs.

The actress who won an Oscar with her film debut in "Funny Girl" in which she had opened in Broadway, likes film work better.

"I don't enjoy being tested every performance," she said, of live theater or singing appearances, "I played 'Funny Girl' for 1,000 performances and every audience was different and I was different. In films you perform for the crew (your family) and then are released."

She did say that she would like to do a classical play but only for a couple of weeks. Later she added that she had been approached for a film on the life of Sarah Bernhardt, the French actress, but that the script had opened with her lying in a coffin!

She said she wouldn't try to influence her son, 6-year-old Jason, one way or another in regard to acting.

"He doesn't sing around the house, if that's what you mean. I don't sing either. I sing only for money."

Leaving with a sense of having enjoyed the interviews, Miss Streisand explained that she enjoyed hearing her name pronounced right. "It's Streisand as in 'sand,'" she said.