Barbra Streisand explained what powers her creative process and why she made many of her career choices in a wide-ranging discussion with director Robert Rodriguez as part of the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night.
“You start because, in a way, you don’t feel good enough,” Streisand said at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, adding, “Fear is like an engine to create.”
However, after Rodriguez, who is best known for his groundbreaking film “El Mariachi” and the popular “Spy Kids” franchise, asked how she became the first woman to write, direct, produce and star in a feature film with 1983’s “Yentl,” Streisand said she also succeeded because she followed her gut. “You have to have both qualities — the self-doubt and the confidence,” she said.
Streisand said her legendary singing career only came after she couldn’t find dramatic roles in the works of Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen that she had studied.
“I would say I’m an actress first, only because I started singing because I couldn’t get a job as an actress,” she said. “I started directing because I couldn’t be heard as an actress. I wanted to be heard.”
Streisand said she was inspired to go that route after she couldn’t convince director Sydney Pollack to leave in two scenes in “The Way We Were” that she felt explained the breakup of her Katie and Robert Redford’s Hubbell.
Though Streisand is currently working on her autobiography, she said, “I’d rather be directing a film.”
Rodriguez told Streisand how shocked he was when she asked his opinion of her “The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic!” tour, which wraps up with shows at the renovated Nassau Coliseum on Thursday and Barclays Center on Saturday. She responded that it would be arrogant for any artist not to seek constructive criticism.
“I’m a little girl, still full of wonder, as well as a mature woman,” Streisand said. “The child is still like, ‘Did you like it?’ ”