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Robert Redford turned down The Way We Were

Robert Redford initially turned down the chance to star in The Way We Were credit:Bang Showbiz
Robert Redford initially turned down the chance to star in The Way We Were credit:Bang Showbiz

Robert Redford initially turned down the chance to star opposite Barbra Streisand in classic movie 'The Way We Were'.

The 1973 romantic drama was a box office success and went on to win two Academy Awards, but Redford almost missed out on the chance to be Streisand's leading man as he turned down the part of Hubbell Gardiner twice before eventually being persuaded to join the project.

In an extract from her new memoir 'My Name Is Barbra' published by Vanity Fair, the singer/actress wrote: "He turned it down ... [He] was concerned that the script was so focused on [Streisand's character] Katie that Hubbell’s character was underdeveloped."

She explained the actor expressed his concerns about the character to director Sydney Pollack: "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.’

"I wanted Bob to be happy, so I told Sydney, ‘Give him anything he wants. 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 [producer Ray Stark] Ray to pay him whatever he wanted."

After the script was re-written, Redford turned down the part once again and Streisand revealed negotiations went "down to the wire".

However, she finally got some good news while she was in Africa working on 1972 movie 'Up the Sandbox' when a telegram arrived emblazoned with the words “Barbra Redford!”

The 81-year-old actress explained: "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."