Barbra Streisand returns to the director's chair with Bourke-White/Caldwell love story

Posted by · 7:42 pm · April 4th, 2013

After inking a deal with worldwide sales firm Aldamisa International in February to tackle her first directorial endeavor since 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” Barbra Streisand has settled on a project: a love story based on the relationship between photographer Margaret Bourke-White and author Erskine Caldwell.

Deadline’s “exclusive” says the film is untitled at the moment, but it was reported as “Skinny and Cat” as far back as June of last year by Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman before the Aldamisa deal even happened, so it’s obviously something the multi-hyphenate has been eyeing for some time. At the time of that report, actors Cate Blanchett and Colin Firth were said to be attached, but this new brief says casting is underway, with an aim to begin production by the end of the year.

Bourke-White became the first female photographer for Life magazine in the 1930s while southern author Caldwell was enjoying acclaim for his work about poverty, racism and social concerns in novels like “Tobacco Road” and “God’s Little Acre.” They married in 1939 and the film, according to the Deadline report, will chart their “tumultuous relationship.”

Streisand’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces” was up for a pair of Oscars and Lauren Bacall famously conceded on Oscar night in an upset to “The English Patient” star Juliette Binoche. Five years prior in 1991, her film “The Prince of Tides” was up for a slew, including Best Picture. It also went home empty-handed. And 1983’s “Yentl,” Streisand’s directorial debut, was mostly recognized for its musical elements by the Academy.

This new film will not feature Streisand on screen. She figured in the last major tie at the Oscars in 1968, winning Best Actress for “Funny Girl” alongside “The Lion in Winter” star Katharine Hepburn. She presented Kathryn Bigelow with the Oscar for Best Director in 2010 for Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,” a first for a female helmer, and she made a big splash in February when she performed “The Way We Were” for her late friend and collaborator Marvin Hamlisch at the 85th annual Academy Awards.

What I’m getting at is this: Streisand has a pretty healthy relationship with the Oscars. Might this latest project have a date with the dance? We’ll find out in due time.

Streisand will be honored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center with the Charlie Chaplin Award later this month.

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