In a rare interview published Tuesday, Barbra Streisand talked about Harvey Weinstein, her travails as a female director — and that she cloned her dog.
Before her beloved, 14-year-old coton de tulear Samantha died in 2017, Streisand, 75, told Variety she had cells taken from the dog’s mouth and stomach. Using cloning — in which a cell or cell nucleus is placed in an egg that in turn is placed in the uterus of a surrogate mother, producing a genetic twin of the original animal — Streisand replicated her pet with two dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett.
“They have different personalities,” the Oscar, Tony, Emmy and eight-time Grammy Award-winning Streisand said. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.” The clones’ names were derived from the red and lavender attire in which Streisand dressed them in order to initially tell them apart.
She has another coton de tulear, Miss Fanny, a distant cousin of the others, that she adopted while waiting for the clones. The name is an homage to Fanny Brice, the entertainer Streisand portrayed in the 1964 Broadway musical and 1968 movie “Funny Girl.”
The pups have appeared in Streisand’s Instagram feed, most recently in a photo of the three posted New Year’s Day, wearing different colored sweaters. “Happy New Year from my three girls . . . Pink, Blue & Violet,” Streisand wrote.
Streisand also discussed disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who has denied dozens of claims of sexual abuse spanning decades. Though she said she was unaware of his alleged behavior, Streisand said she found him “vulgar.” Describing a dispute involving the opening night of “Finding Neverland,” a 2015 Broadway musical Weinstein produced, “He wanted me to come there on his arm and sing a song on the album,” Streisand recalled. “I said, ‘No. I can’t do that.’ ” Weinstein, she said, responded by threatening not to work with her or to send her any of his films to screen at home. “That kind of stupidity,” Streisand said. “So I thought he was a boorish guy.”
She said she experienced boys’ club behavior while shooting her second film as director, 1991’s “The Prince of Tides,” saying she confronted a camera operator who had blatantly lied in support of a mistaken contention by star Nick Nolte regarding a scene. “I say, ‘Why did you just lie to him?’ He says, ‘It’s the boys’ club.’ Can you imagine? They were protecting him.”
Streisand, who also directed 1983’s “Yentl” and 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” had been in the running to direct 2016’s “Hidden Figures,” about pioneering African-American female mathematicians in NASA. “I was sent the script, and I said yes,” she recalled, in an anecdote confirmed by the film’s producer, Donna Gigliotti. The job went instead to co-screenwriter Theodore Melfi, “and he did a good job,” Streisand said. Nonetheless, “I wish I had directed it.”