We’re coming up on the two-decade mark since Barbra Streisand, the grand multi-hyphenate, helmed a feature film, having last trained her cinema eye on 1996’s The Mirror Has Two Faces, which co-starred Jeff Bridges as her love interest. Truth be told, Streisand has never been a particularly interesting filmmaker, despite showing some ability as a director of actors, which is evident in her work with Pierce Brosnan, George Segal, Lauren Bacall, and Mimi Rogers in that film. There’s similar traces of competency in her first two films, Yentl and The Prince of Tides, the latter of which features excellent work by Nick Nolte and George Carlin, but she’s never been the kind of filmmaker you race out to see what she does with the big screen. You go to the movie to see her, presumably.
We last saw Streisand alongside Seth Rogen in the deeply forgettable comedy Guilt Trip, but now she’s taking a turn towards historical drama in her first directorial effort since The Mirror Has Two Faces. As THR reports, Streisand will next helm Catherine the Great, a take on the Russian ruler who reigned over the Russian people from the mid-to-late 18th century and is often considered one of the greatest leaders the country ever had, and, naturally, an icon of female empowerment. As history buffs will note, Russia was modernizes extensively under Catherine’s rule and she was the reason that several major institutions, towns, and communities were founded in Russia.
Streisand will be working from a script by first-timer Kristina Lauren Anderson, and has yet to cast anyone in the project, though her clout will certainly call for major talent to take up the project. (I know it sounds crazy, but this is the kind of role that Alison Tolman, who made huge impressions in Fargo Season 1 and Krampus, would absolutely kill.) We’ll have to wait and see where this project goes, but I will say that the required period production design will likely help deter focus on Streisand’s standard-issue visual rhythms and pacing.