Is anyone else amused by the possibility that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Soggy Bottom**, a ’70s-era ensemble drama, might be at least partly about the making of Barbra Streisand, Jon Peters and Frank Pierson‘s A Star Us Born? On-set snaps of Bradley Cooper closely resemble the way Peters looked back in the day, and it’s been written that costar Alana Haim “may” be playing a Streisand-like figure.
If true, this would fall under the heading of perverse casting, given Cooper’s recent Kris Tapley-endorsed Star Is Born remake. Twitter is certainly buying into the possibility.
If — I say “if” — Cooper is indeed portraying young Peters in this Los Angeles-based film, I’d like to think that the inspiration came from three sources. One, JASH’s “Very Animated People” riff on Peters, which posted on YouTube on 8.28.17. Two, Frank Pierson’s “My Battles With Jon and Barbra,” a blow-by-blow account of the making of the ’76 version of A Star Is Born, written in a state of seething anger and resentment. And three, Karina Longworth‘s take on the Star Is Born debacle, “You Must Remember This,” episode #21, posted on 11.4.14.
— Nelson Carvajal (@nelsoncarvajal) August 26, 2020
Excerpt from “Bridge Burner“, posted on 4.22.18:
“Pierson, who passed in 2012, was arguably a better screenwriter (Cool Hand Luke, Dog Day Afternoon, Haywire, Presumed Innocent, Mad Men) than a director, but he certainly knew the realm.
“I found Pierson’s piece on the Barbara [Streisand] Archives website. Launched in ’03, it’s been written, designed, created and maintained all along by Matt Howe of Washington, D.C. [The article has been removed from barbra-archives.com.]
Howe’s intro: “This is the infamous article, written by the director of A Star is Born and published shortly before the film had its premiere. Streisand and Jon Peters begged Pierson not to hurt their film by publishing it. The article was a betrayal to Streisand — a public airing of behind-the-scenes battles that, traditionally, were always kept private between director and star. It is included here so readers can understand why Streisand is so private and wary of the press.
“A different edit of the piece also ran in the November 15, 1976 issue of New York magazine. I’ve incorporated several of the excised sentences here, as well as scans of some of the photos that appeared in that magazine.
“In 1983, Barbra told journalist Geraldo Rivera: “Pierson’s article was so immoral, so unethical, so unprofessional, so undignified, with no integrity, totally dishonest, injurious. If anyone believes it, without examining who that person is, to try to put a black cloud over a piece of work before it’s even released…that’s the most important indication of who that person was.”
** Temporary shooting title