BARBRANEWS TALKS TO... SALLY KIRKLAND
BarbraNews.com had the pleasure of talking to Sally Kirkland briefly
on June 26th 2002 by phone - from her home in California.
Her relationship with Barbra goes back to the early 60s when Barbra worked at the Bon Soir. She also had parts in The Way We Were and A Star Is Born.
Tell us how you first met Barbra?
We met in the early 60s when Barbra was performing in Greenwich Village. It was at the Bon Soir if my memory serves me right… I was a waitress at the Fiaro, and I was dating Fred Hellermand from the Weavers.
There's a great story in Karen Swenson's book
'The Second Decade' about when you and Barbra were rehearsing a scene from
Romeo and Juliet... and she dived in the pool -- and taunted you to follow?
Well… We were rehearsing a scene from Romeo and Juliet - and in this particular scene, the nurse is being very mischievous with Juliet. Anyway, Barbra decided to dive into the pool -- and asked me to follow!
Sally, in retrospect, thought it was very impulsive and a very Juliet-like thing to do because it forced her to act maternal in response.
There were scenes between you and Barbra in The Way We Were that were
filmed but cut; do you have any memories of those scenes?
Yes, of course. I was actually hired to do the scene where Barbra and I were walking down a street, quite near Central Park West - Barbra is pouring her heart out - and as you probably know, Barbra is nearly deaf in one ear, (Editor note: Barbra has tinnitus but is NOT deaf in one ear. To the contrary, she has been tested to have nearly supersonic hearing.) and so am I (we both have tinnitus) - and there was a lot of traffic noise - and we had great difficulty hearing each other, and we kept bumping into each other. Anyway - we had to hug each other at one point, we had earrings falling out - we both found it very funny - and she give me a hug and said "Sally, I like you - you're just like me". So, by the time the scene was perfected - they cut it? God knows why… I still don't know.
Did you have any preconceived views on what Barbra would be like to work with
before The Way We Were?
I loved her. I'd actually saw her at the Bon Soir - and various places around the village. I liked her a lot.
Is it true Barbra asked for you when she was casting A Star Is Born?
Yes - she did :->
Is it also true that you give some advice to Barbra before filming Yentl, in the scenes where she talks to her father?
Yes - She wanted to know how to get emotional on cue. She came to me for advice. I'm an acting teacher - and we went to see Lee Strasberg. He gave us a scene from Romeo and Juliet (I played Romeo) - and the tears started to roll down her face - I said "The emotion that you're feeling now, is how Juliet felt about Romeo" We initially did it at Barbra's Carolwood home - she kicked ass in front of Lee Strasberg and the Actor's studio, he said she was one of the best Juliet's he had ever seen.
You're currently writing your autobiography... will Barbra be in it?
Yes - of course. Barbra is in there.
If you had a chance to work with Barbra now, would you say yes? What kind of project?
Without a doubt. I'd kill to work or be directed by her. I'd love to do Shakespeare with her. I was at the Democratic fundraiser last year . I went backstage afterwards - and she came up to me and asked how I was. Of course - she was wonderful. I told her we should do Shakespeare together - on PBS. It interests her a lot. I reminded Barbra that Sarah Bernhardt did it at her age.
A piece of Trivia! James Brolin and I exec produced and starred in a feature film in competition in Sundance called 'Cheatin' Hearts' - it plays on cable all the time - I was very happy when they got together.
Sally, thanks for taking time out to talk to us, especially when you're so busy!
You're welcome - I'll look forward to reading the Interview.