Piers Morgan Tonight

Broadcast December 23, 2012 (CNN)

Piers Morgan interviews Barbra Streisand

Streisand taped an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on December 2, 2012. The show, which was delayed from its original December 14th airing because of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, finally aired December 23rd.

Piers Morgan Tweet

(Above: Piers Morgan tweeted a photo of him and Streisand on the set.)

Piers Morgan wanted to interview Streisand for a while. At a dinner party thrown by David Foster in August 2011, Morgan got on his knees and sang “The Way We Were” to Streisand. Morgan wrote that Streisand, before “exploding into fits of giggles” said “That was very... nice, thank you.” Then Piers Morgan asked, “Will you sing for us later?” and Streisand said, “Nooooo, I never sing at parties. I feel uncomfortable performing to an audience where I can see the faces looking at me. I’ve always suffered from stage fright, but as long as I can’t see the faces, I’m usually OK. Singing at a dinner party like this would freak me out!”

Then, Morgan related the following exchange with Streisand:

‘How about an interview?’ I asked Barbra as we left.

She smiled. ‘Maybe.’

Then came the immortal words: ‘Piers, can I have your phone number?’

I scrabbled for a pen and paper.

‘I’ll be in touch,’ she purred.

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Here is what they talked about on the December 23, 2012 Piers Morgan Tonight interview:

MORGAN: The dream was always to be an actress, to be a star?

STREISAND: Oh, yes. I think when I was younger, I wanted to be a star, until I became a star, and then it's a lot of work. It's work to be a star. I don't enjoy the stardom part. I only enjoy the creative process.

MORGAN: If I said to you, look, you can go to a desert island, all you can do for the rest of your life you can sing, you can direct, you can act. Or you can just sit there drinking out of coconuts.

STREISAND: I would say direct.

MORGAN: That's the true love.

STREISAND: Well, directing is so interesting. You know, it just sort of encompasses everything that you see, that you know, that you've felt, that you have observed. It's just — you know, you can turn the camera on anything — you are in control of your work, you are in control of your so- called art. I like that.

Morgan interviews Streisand

When Piers Morgan asked “How many times have you in your life been properly in love?” Streisand had to think about it. “At least five or six,” she answered before qualifying: “You didn't ask how long it lasted.”

After a break, Morgan and Streisand discussed The Way We Were and its unfilmed sequel. “It's such a good story, the sequel,” Barbra explained. “I wanted it to be released on the 25th anniversary [of The Way We Were], but we never made it. It was just a very interesting story about their daughter and her political activism at Berkeley in 1968 and the Democratic National Convention, which is very interesting.”

Close up of Streisand

MORGAN: Have you ever been in love with a Republican?

STREISAND: Never.

MORGAN: Could you ever be?

STREISAND: No.

MORGAN: Really? That's fascinating.

STREISAND: Well, I mean, unless there was an enormous sexual chemistry and, you know, and I had to — we never talked about politics.

After another commercial break, Piers Morgan asked Barbra Streisand what she thinks when she sees older film clips of herself. “I'm so objective when I look at myself,” Barbra replied. “You know, when I'm directing a movie, and I'm editing, you know, it's always she, her, it's not me, it's like the character in the movie.”

On the CNN set

MORGAN: Have you resisted the sort of self-masticated plunge into plastic surgery that so many American female stars feel compelled to do?

STREISAND: I don't trust most people. You know when I was younger I thought well, God, if only I could just take off just like little bit and then just shorten it just a little bit, but what if he screws up? You know, so. I just—and I really don't like the idea of changing one's face, you know, like capping the teeth or stuff like that. To change a face, no.”

Streisand then told Morgan that Marlon Brando was the greatest actor she's ever seen.

As the discussion continued, Streisand shared the story of the time Brando invited her on an overnight road trip:

“He wanted to take me to the desert, to see the wild flowers,” she explained. “And sleep over in a ghost town. I was such a nice Jewish girl that I just said, 'Marlon, I can't stay overnight with you. I'll go with you for the day but you have to take me home.'”

Streisand talks with Morgan

Morgan played a clip of Streisand singing “The Way We Were” on her 1975 television special From Funny Girl To Funny Lady and asked Streisand for a comment on her performance. “I'm looking at the — why was I wearing that kind of thing over the black dress? And God, my hair was light, and I was a little chubby.”

On her public reputation as a “diva,” Streisand said: “There are probably several people called Barbra Streisand, meaning you see me as this star. I don't see myself like that. I'm this girl, I'm this woman, I'm this mother, I'm this wife. You know, I do not dress up, I don't at home ...”

MORGAN: Have you ever screamed at people?

STREISAND: Oh, yes, I screamed at people. But—

MORGAN: How lovely.

STREISAND: But that does not mean — you know, I scream at my husband. It doesn't make me a diva.

MORGAN: Are you a perfectionist?

STREISAND: I am proud to say I am. But there is no such thing as perfection, and I found that out when I was 15 years old. I wrote it in my journal, that perfection is imperfection. So it has that humanity, like human quality. Otherwise it's too cold, right? You can just strive for perfection. Another word is excellence, strive for excellence.

Streisand gestures

MORGAN: What are some things that you do that we maybe wouldn't know?

STREISAND: I draw, I actually draw. I take photographs. I wrote a book on design. That's interesting to me, because that's a lot to do with directing too, it's composition and color, and you know, monochromatic frames. That interests me.

Morgan asked Streisand about all her awards over the years. “I used to hide all these awards,” she said, “and then one day I was doing a new house. And I decided, I'll put them in a room. You can't see them when you walk in. But they are there, and I do appreciate them now. I do say, oh good, I was here, I'm still here, but I was here.

“You know, I think it's because my father— and maybe you'll relate to this— died so young. That I want to be remembered. I want to have made a mark here. And records and films, television shows, they do that. They say you existed, you were here. And hopefully for, you know, a good purpose.”

End.

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