'Guilt Trip' Star Barbra Streisand Says Her Own Son Pushed Her to Play the Movie Mom

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Actor, singer, director, icon Barbra Streisand returns to the big screen this week in Guilt Trip, her first starring role since 1996’s The Mirror Has Two Faces.

“It meant for me to come back to work as a star, a starring role, rather than six days on a movie -- which I really like, just six days on a movie,” she said about her brief appearances in Meet The Fockers and Little Fockers. “It was time to challenge myself again.”

An Oscar winner for her break out role as vaudevillian Fanny Brice in the 1968 classic, Funny Girl, Streisand has become not just a screen legend, but the voice of her generation with top 40 hits like The Way We Were and Evergreen.

She turned her hand to directing in 1983 with Yentl, about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to enter religious training, garnering five Oscar nominations and a win for Best Original Score. Her subsequent movie, The Prince Of Tides, received seven Oscar nods, including one for Best Picture, and The Mirror Has Two Faces was nominated twice.

“Trying to get movies made as a director, it’s very, very hard, and it’s not the same as when I last made a film,” said Streisand, speculating on whether she’ll direct again. “They are not interested in love stories or any movie that’s sort of over 15 million dollars. But it can be 100 million, that’s okay. 200 million is okay to lose. What draws me are movies that cost 18 million, 20 million. They are not interested in those movies. So it is a different time and I don’t like it as much.”

In Guilt Trip she stars opposite Seth Rogen as a mother-son couple taking a 3000-mile trip across country. Streisand talked candidly about playing a mom and being a mom to Jason Gould, her 46-year-old son with ex-husband, actor Elliot Gould. Perhaps appropriately, it was Jason who helped convince her she should sign on to Guilt Trip, after weeks of wavering.

Streisand and Gould were visiting their son who was recovering from back surgery when she showed him the script.

“We were both there coddling our son,” she recalled. “So he became the audience and Jason was reading all the parts to me and he said, 'I think you should do it, mom.' And I really trust his integrity and his opinion. So he clinched the deal.”

Streisand drew from her relationship with her son for the new movie, recalling the ups and downs of child rearing as she spoke to reporters in Beverly Hills earlier this month.

“Mothers develop guilt trips,” she said. “When I was working a lot I’d feel guilty as a parent that I couldn’t pick up my son every day from school, bake him cookies and that kind of thing. And so I know that feeling. And so you try and compensate and everything they do is great and they sense that guilt, children, and they are going through their own rebellious time and having a famous parent is an odd thing.”

At the age of 70, Streisand was reluctant about getting up early every morning and commuting to work, but the movie’s subject matter was one she related to on a deep level.

“I thought it was an interesting thing to investigate this, trying to be my son’s friend, trying to be a friend versus his mother,” she offered. “When it comes time to really say, ‘You abused me, you disrespected me, you talked back to me, you don’t honor what I say, you won’t take my advice,’ that kind of thing, in terms of this movie, it hit on all those things that I thought I could explore.”

As for working with Rogen, Streisand found him adorable. “I could be his mother,” she laughed. “He took me out of my shell. It was a very loving gesture and it’s about love.  I always say it’s a different kind of love story.”

Watch the film's theatrical trailer, and then tell us what you think of Streisand's return to leading-lady status in the comments below!

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