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Streisand, Kramer and the Battle Over The Normal Heart

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I wish Larry Kramer would please do me, himself, and people who follow the entertainment business a favor and quit bringing up the fact that Barbra Streisand has not made the film version of his play The Normal Heart.

Kramer supplied his latest missive against Streisand to The New York Post and other news outlets last week. Streisand responded, in turn, with a slightly edited version of a blog that first appeared on her website in May of 2011, around the time of Kramer's last, and most personal, attack against her.

When Streisand posted that first blog, it felt like the final death knell rang in a Hollywood battle that has been going on in some form since 1987. Since all indications point strongly to the movie finally being made, it seems unnecessary for Kramer to still be at Streisand's throat.

In his letter, he states that if Streisand was as passionate about The Normal Heart as she has repeatedly said since 1985, then she would have paid whatever and done whatever it took to get it made instead of making other movies, performing concerts and building houses.

Based on both of Streisand's responses to Kramer (the facts of which ring quite true), and his own letter, Kramer needs to turn that finger around and point it at himself. He may not realize it, but his words make it clear that money was more important to him than his crucial story about the early days of the AIDS crisis and, in Streisand's words, "everyone's right to love."

In Kramer's letter, he says he was willing to let Streisand have the rights to the film for a million dollars, and then she could do whatever she wanted with it. This is tied to the fact that, as Streisand says, Kramer would not allow for any changes to his script unless that price was met.

For a million dollars, Larry Kramer would allow Barbra Streisand to make the version of the movie she wants to make. A version he clearly doesn't approve of and has been fighting against for years.

Basically, he'd "sell out." He'd throw the integrity and passion for his story out the window for that price tag. A million dollars is more important to him than doing whatever it takes (as he believes Streisand should do) via any script or cinematic compromises to get the movie out there and to a wider audience.

I'd wager that if Streisand paid the million bucks and made the film her way, Kramer would be bitching and moaning that she didn't make the movie he wanted, and never take responsibility for "selling out."

Now Ryan Murphy is attached to the film. Kramer says he is thrilled with what Murphy is bringing to the project and that Murphy said he would put up his own money to make The Normal Heart if a major studio won't back it.

Well, if that's the case, then why bring up Barbra Streisand's name again? Larry Kramer wasn't willing to compromise so she could make the film and forced her hand into letting the project go. Unless there is a shocking turnaround, it's not coming back to her. So why bring her up if Murphy is so great? Why bring her up if Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo are attached? What's the point?

Larry Kramer is a man accustomed to being told to shut up as an AIDS activist, which only spurs him on to get louder. However, in the much more trivial case of Barbra Streisand and a movie version of The Normal Heart, he really does need to shut up.