From Times Herald (Staff Reporter)
Streisand to make film about Caldwell romance
by Staff ReportsOfficials with the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance, which operates the museum in the home in south Coweta County where Caldwell was born in 1903, are excited about the project and hope it will shine some international attention on Caldwell and the museum.
“This is wonderful news for us,” said Winston Skinner, MCAA chairman.
The plans for the film, the first directorial project for Streisand in 16 years, was at one point planned for release in 2013. Internet sources now indicate the movie should be released sometime next year.
Vanity Fair published an article about the project last year. Colin Firth is slated to play Caldwell, who wrote such novels as “Tobacco Road” and “God’s Little Acre.” Cate Blanchett has been tapped for the role of Bourke-White, one of the most famous photographers in history.
The film, “Skinny and Cat,” is to be produced by Linda Yellen.
“It’s about a woman ahead of her time. It’s just a fascinating story that is very relevant to today,” Streisand said in the Vanity Fair article.
Streisand has been interested in the story for about 20 years.
Skinner, who is an editor at The Newnan Times-Herald, recalled talking about the project with Erskine Caldwell Jr., when the novelist’s son visited Moreland in the mid-1990s.
“He had talked either with Ms. Streisand or someone connected with her. I remember he was really excited about the possibility of the film, and he gave us a copy of a screenplay that is in the museum’s collection,” Skinner said.
“Barbra Streisand was supposed to star in” the film as originally envisioned, said Carol Chancey, who oversees day-to-day operations for MCAA in the south Coweta town.
“It was written at a time when there was another script” about Bourke-White, Chancey said. That script was made into a television film starring Farrah Fawcett as the photographer and Frederic Forrest as Caldwell.
As a result, Streisand went on to other projects.
“The script has been touted as Hollywood’s greatest unmade script,” Chancey said.
Caldwell and Bourke-White met when he hired her to accompany him across the South for the book that became “You Have Seen Their Faces.”
The book, chronicling Southern poverty, was written partly in response to critics of his early Southern novels.
“Their love affair grew from that,” Chancey recounted. Caldwell divorced his first wife, Helen, and married Bourke-White. They later divorced, and he married two more times before his death in 1987.
“When Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White married, they essentially had a pre-nuptial agreement,” Skinner related. “He promised to be nice to her friends, not to go for long spells without speaking and to see a psychiatrist – among other things.”
Chancey said the story of Caldwell and Bourke-White is “very colorful” and should make for an exciting movie.
“We’re looking forward to not just the film but for all us to explore the ‘Faces’ project and Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White’s work,” Chancey said.
The Fawcett-Forrest film, first shown in 1989, has been released both as “Margaret Bourke-White” and as “Double Exposure.” Bourke-White herself made some documentary films while traveling in Russia before she married Caldwell.
Bourke-White was also portrayed by Candice Bergen in the 1981 film, “Gandhi.”
Several of Caldwell’s novels have been filmed for theatrical release or for television including “God’s Little Acre,” “Tobacco Road,” “Claudelle Inglish,” “This Very Earth” and “Certain Women.”