She never gave up, did she?
Hollywood icon Barbra Streisand revealed that she struggled to get Robert Redford to star in their 1973 film “The Way We Were.”
Streisand, 81, makes the stunning claim in her upcoming memoir “My Name Is Barbra,” which is set to hit bookstores Nov. 7.
“Bob is that rare combination… an intellectual cowboy… a charismatic star who is also one of the finest actors of his generation,” Streisand wrote in an excerpt published by Vanity Fair. “But like my husband, he’s almost apologetic about his looks, and I liked that about him.”
“So I wanted Redford for Hubbell. But he turned it down,” continued the “Funny Girl” star, adding that she turned to director Sydney Pollack, a Redford pal, for help.
“I have to give Sydney credit,” confessed the singing sensation. “He was as persistent as I was, because we both felt that only Redford would make the picture work.”
The Post reached out to reps for Streisand and Redford, 87, for comment.
Streisand also reveals that Redford’s onboarding process was not easy.
“Bob was concerned that the script was so focused on Katie that Hubbell’s character was underdeveloped,” wrote the “A Star is Born” actress.
“Bob asked Sydney, ‘Who is this guy? He’s just an object… He doesn’t want anything. What does this guy want?’ In Bob’s opinion, he was ‘shallow and one-dimensional. Not very real.’ ‘A pin-up girl in reverse,’ as Sydney put it.”
According to the “Yentl” star, she recommended Pollack, who died in 2008 at the age of 73, give Redford what he wanted.
“Give him anything he wants,” Streisand advised. “Write more scenes to strengthen his character. Make it equal.”
“So Sydney hired two excellent writers, David Rayfiel and Alvin Sargent, to beef up Bob’s part and go deeper, beneath that golden-boy exterior. And I told Ray to pay him whatever he wanted. But Bob’s answer was still no. I was heartbroken,” she continued.
As contract negotiations came down to the final stretch, Redford finally agreed to star in the film.
“I was in the middle of filming ‘Up the Sandbox’ in Africa, and one day I got a telegram from Sue Mengers that simply said: ‘Barbra Redford!’” Streisand recalled.
“That’s when I knew he’d finally said yes… and I was so thrilled! The courtship had been tough, but Bob’s reluctance had a big influence on the script and ultimately resulted in a richer, more interesting character.”
In the 2023 book “The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen” by Robert Hofler, Redford’s hesitancy to accept the part was blamed on the reputation of the “Hello Dolly” icon.
“She has never been tested,” Redford told Pollack about Streisand. “Her reputation is as a very controlling person. She will direct herself. It’ll never work.”
Redford was also reportedly concerned that Streisand would sing, and he did not “want her to sing in the middle of the movie.”
The critically acclaimed romantic film, about opposites Katie Morosky and Hubbell Gardiner, went on to win two Academy Awards, for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Song, and be named one of the top films of 1973.