In possibly the strangest road trips in recent history hits the big screen this weekend with Paramount’s “The Guilt Trip”. Set Rogan and Barbra Streisand play a son and mother who go on a road trip with comedic and sometimes dramatic consequences. Recently the cast discussed how things came together for this unique pairing.
Billy Tatum: How was it meeting for the first time?
BARBARA STREISAND: Well, Seth it turns out sussed me out.
SETH ROGAN: I did.
BARBARA STREISAND: So he called people from the Focker movies, right?
SETH ROGAN: I sussed —
BARBARA STREISAND: You know, you could tell it. It’s your story. Tell it.
SETH ROGAN: Yeah, I think I was actually working with John Schwartzman who was the cinematographer on Meet the Fockers around the time this came up and I think I asked him what he thought of Barbra. And he said she was great. And I know Jay Roach a little, so I think I might have asked him and I think he said she was awesome, too.
BARBARA STREISAND: Ben Stiller you called.
SETH ROGAN: Ben Stiller I think I might have run into and asked, but, yeah, everyone — she checked out. This Barbra Streisand lady checked out. So I thought I’d give her a shot (laughs).
Billy Tatum: Anne, were you comfortable with Seth and Barbara improvising?
ANNE FLETCHER: They had such a great chemistry and just a great ability to improvise with each other that was so easy to do. You just say one word even if it was like Thanksgiving and they just go into a five minute improv that was so genius and so her dad and I would be behind the monitor laughing our heads off. And so we got in trouble.
Billy Tatum: Since you last directed a movie, there have been so many changes to the way movies have been shot. What are your thoughts on these technologies as you might use them as a director and how they might change things from the performance side for actors?
BARBARA STREISAND: Well, I would have to, you know, when and if I do direct another film, I would have to go suss out the, you know, the red camera, the Alexa, the — all this new things. But I know I love film. By the way, A Star is Born was done live.
ANNE FLETCHER: With an audience.
BARBARA STREISAND: No. Oh yeah with sometimes with an audience. But we — I sang live. I sang live in Funny Girl at the end of the Funny Girl because that’s what they’re talking about in Les Mis –: Because, you know, I said to Willie, how do you have emotion? How do you know where the emotion is gonna hit you? When I was doing “My Man” at the end. And I’m a terrible lip syncher anyway, because I have to be in the moment and I can’t lip synch to something I recorded three months before, you know. So I thought it was great that Tom Hooper used that — let the actors be live.
Billy Tatum: How does it feel being an icon to so many people and does your son see you that way at all?
BARBARA STREISAND: He doesn’t see me as an icon. He sees me as his mother who, you know, touches her hair too much and — no. I love being an icon to anybody.
Billy Tatum: What gives you the most satisfaction as an artist?
BARBARA STREISAND: I prefer things that are private so I love recording and I love making films as a filmmaker because it uses every bit of what you have experienced whether it’s graphics, composition, decorating, psychology, or storytelling.
Billy Tatum: What was the toughest part of doing the film?
BARBARA STREISAND: For a person who doesn’t like steak, that is the hardest thing (laughs).
Billy Tatum: Do you approach comedy and drama differently? Is one tougher than the other?
BARBARA STREISAND: If anything is based on what reaches an audience is the truth is honesty. So if you’re saying something truthful that’s a funny line, it’s gonna be funny.If it’s a serious line, it’s gonna be serious. But I don’t think there’s a distinction between how you play in drama or comedy; do you know what I mean? If it based in the truth.
Billy Tatum: Seth, does your real-life mom drive you crazy?
SETH ROGAN: Oh, it’s the same answer. Very. I think yeah my mom drives me crazy sometimes. I have a good relationship. I see my parents a lot. It’s like in the movie. For no reason, I’ll get annoyed and I’ll just find myself reverting back to like a mentality of like a 14 year old kid who just doesn’t wanna be around his parents. One of the things I related to most in the script was that dynamic where just your mother’s trying and the more she tries, the more it bugs you. And the more it bugs you the more she tries. And you like see her trying to say the thing that won’t annoy you and she can’t and yeah, all that is very, at times, very real to my relationship with my mother.
Billy Tatum: Barbara, did your own son have a factor in you taking the role?
BARBARA STREISAND: Actually he was very important in my decision to make the movie because he was recovering from back surgery so he was in bed for a few days after. I And I brought the script over and we read it out loud and it was interesting actually. His father was in the room, too. Isn’t that funny? We were both, you know, very coddling our son. And so he became the audience and Jason was reading all the parts with me. And he said, “I think you should do it, mom.” And I really trust his integrity and his opinion. He has great taste, you know, in whatever he chooses to do. So he clinched the deal. Anne was on the phone all weekend.
ANNE FLETCHER: I was with you all over the world. In your house, on vacation, on a boat in France, somewhere in the Bahamas, the dog was gonna jump off the boat. I had a lot of time — I love that Jason just one night, “Yes, mom do it.” I had a whole year.
Billy Tatum: Barbara, is it ever difficult selecting projects?
BARBARA STREISAND: Then there comes a time, you know, when I was on a little boat, is right, in France and my friend who’s an architectural critic said, “I don’t know whether to do this movie,” I said to him and he said, “You know, an actor has a craft and you’re an actor and you should be using your craft.” That was interesting. Like do it, do your thing. And I thought that was interesting. I was thinking at the time, you know, should I be playing Sarah Bernhardt or, you know, trying to get movies made as a director and it’s very, very hard. It’s not the same as when I last made a film. They’renot interested in love stories or any movie that’s sort of over $15 million. But it could be $100 million, that’s okay. Two hundred million is okay to lose, but the movies that I’m used to making or liking, you know, what draws me, they’re movies that cost $18 million, $20 million and they’re not interested in those movies. So it’s a different time. I don’t like it as much.
Billy Tatum: I’m sure that you get a ton of scripts though, right?
BARBARA STREISAND: I don’t. You see, everybody thinks like you. She’s got so many scripts, why would I send her. She’ll never get a chance to read it. And meanwhile, I go, “Where are the scripts?”
Be sure and check back later for my review on “The Guilt Trip”. Also, follow me on Twitter at @lamoviedude.