A Star Is Born (1976) Movie Poster

Trivia for A Star Is Born (1976)

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  • Kris Kristofferson compared making the movie to going through Ranger School, the elite U.S. Army Ranger program, which he did in 1963. In Ranger School, you sleep an average of three hours every twenty-four hours, and your skills and will to succeed is constantly challenged to the maximum for three months.
  • The second-highest grossing film of 1976.
  • Neil Diamond was considered for the role of John Norman Howard, but had to turn it down due to his concert commitments.
  • Director Frank Pierson was so angered by his experience working with Barbra Streisand on this film, that he wrote a first person account, published in both New York and New West magazines, detailing what a horrible experience it had been. Pierson portrayed his star as egocentric, manipulative, and controlling. The article was published just prior to the film's release in December 1976 and Streisand and Pierson have never worked together again.
  • According to several Barbra Streisand bios, she directed a few minor scenes herself, after she and Frank Pierson disagreed over the necessity of those scenes.
  • Barbra Streisand insisted that she wanted Elvis Presley for the part of John Norman Howard. She even went to Las Vegas to see Elvis after one of his performances in 1975, and talked to him directly to convince him to play the part. Elvis wanted to do it, but Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, was angry that Streisand did not come to him first. He told the producers that if they wanted Elvis, Elvis's name had to be at the top of the movie poster, above Streisand's name. Moreover, it was said that he asked them for a very large sum of money. Elvis hadn't been in a movie since 1969, and nobody knew what he could do at the box-office, because of all that, Elvis Presley didn't make the movie, although he had been Streisand's first choice since the beginning of the project.
  • Barbra Streisand wanted the part of John Norman Howard to be played by either Elvis Presley or Marlon Brando.
  • The version of "Evergreen" during the recording studio scene is a live recording, filmed in a single take. This was done at the insistence of Barbra Streisand: she hates doing lip sync work; she wanted to be able to have close-ups during the scene (which would expose any flaws in lip sync); and she wanted a more "natural" feel to that version (as evidenced by the kissing and laughing). Kris Kristofferson, however, was very reluctant about singing live on-screen, and had to be talked into it. A more formal studio recording was used for the final credits and soundtrack album.
  • Kris Kristofferson almost didn't get the role, due to a conflict over publishing rights.
  • Kris Kristofferson did not get along with the director. According to Kris, Frank Pierson, himself a World War II veteran, looked down on Kristofferson for being in the Army, but not going to war in Vietnam. Kristofferson later said: "I was too drunk to give a shit."
  • Another choice for the role of John Norman Howard was Mick Jagger.
  • When the helicopter is flying above Sun Devil Stadium, you can hear a brief snippet of the song "Rock Candy" performed by the band Montrose, which at the time featured Sammy Hagar.
  • Kris Kristofferson said: "Filming with Barbra Streisand is an experience which may have cured me of the movies."
  • The first Dolby System film released with rear channel information, making it the first Dolby surround sound film.
  • When this project was first brought to Barbra Streisand by her boyfriend, Producer and former Hollywood hairdresser Jon Peters, the title was "Rainbow Road" (according to an early report on the film by Rona Barrett).
  • Italian censorship visa # 70007 delivered on 25-3-1977.
  • Cher, Liza Minnelli, Helen Reddy, and Diana Ross were considered for the role of Esther Hoffman.
  • One of three cinema movie collaborations of Producer and hairdresser Jon Peters and Barbra Streisand. The others being For Pete's Sake (1974) and The Main Event (1979). Peters was Streisand's hair stylist, and not a producer on For Pete's Sake (1974), but performed producing duties on the other two features, with Streisand also a Producer on The Main Event (1979) and an Executive Producer on this movie.
  • Esther Hoffman Howard's clothing was straight out of Barbra Streisand's own closet. The actual credit reads: Miss Streisand's clothes from... her closet.
  • Kris Kristofferson's then wife Rita Coolidge appears as herself.
  • The role of John Norman Howard was originally written for James Taylor, but he'd had enough of movies after his "torturous" debut in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971).
  • Edward Asner was considered for Brian.
  • The rock concert footage was shot before a crowd of forty-seven thousand at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson headlining, and included other acts such as Peter Frampton and Santana, booked by famed concert promoter Bill Graham. The price of a ticket was $3.50.
  • Kenny Loggins was offered the part of John Norman Howard as well. However he declined due to his touring commitments with Loggins & Messina. Interestingly, his song "I Believe in Love", which he co-wrote with Alan Bergman and his wife Marilyn Bergman, was performed by Barbra Streisand in the film.
  • (Cameo) Robert Englund: Uncredited, as an aggressive bar patron who approaches John while is watching Esther perform for the first time, and spoils her act with a bar fight. Englund later became famous as Willie beginning in V (1983) and its follow-ups and Freddy Krueger beginning in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
  • The fundraiser concert and the concert at the end of the movie were filmed at Arizona State University's Grady Gammage Auditorium, designed by notable architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Leading lady Barbra Streisand's sister Roslyn Kind plays an uncredited Grammy Awards table guest.
  • At the beginning of the movie Bobbie Ritchie has a Willie Nelson shirt on. Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson are very close friends, they have written songs together and toured together. They were part of the country mega group, "The Highwaymen." They also are neighbors in Maui.
  • Kris Kristofferson is the only one of the eight actors who played either one of the two lead characters in adaptations of A Star is Born not to be nominated for an Academy Award prior to or for the film. He would be eventually nominated for Best Original Score for Songwriter (1984).
  • The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Barbra Streisand; and four Oscar nominees: Kris Kristofferson, Gary Busey, Sally Kirkland and Paul Mazursky.
  • In an interview with Access Live, Robert Englund claimed that Kris Kristofferson actually broke his nose after actually punching him during their fight scene. He thought Robert was a stunt person and was under the impression that you could get a little closer to those people when performing the actual stunts. However, after finding out it was another actor who Kris had punched, he felt so badly that Robert ended up going to Kris' trailer and drinking wine with him to show him there weren't any hard feelings.
  • In the film, Barbra Streisand is seen winning a Grammy. In real life, she did just that for her song "Evergreen" (which also won her an Oscar).
  • This version was originally conceived as a vehicle for Carly Simon and James Taylor.
  • Original writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne spent three months touring with Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep and Jethro Tull to get a feel for the rock star lifestyle.
  • Peter Bogdanovich was approached with the property as a potential vehicle for his then-girlfriend Cybill Shepherd but he wasn't interested.
  • Mark Rydell was briefly involved with the project with a view to direct.
  • Motown head Berry Gordy refused to release Diana Ross to work on the film.
  • British singer Alan Price was briefly considered for the lead.
  • When Mark Rydell's involvement came to an end, Jerry Schatzberg briefly entered the fray as a potential director.
  • Barbra Streisand initially turned the film down but Jon Peters was able to persuade her to take another look.
  • Jerry Schatzberg quit the film when Barbra Streisand refused to consider making her character more of a Janis Joplin figure. This concept would resurface three years later with The Rose (1979) - directed by Mark Rydell, who at one time was supposed to direct this film.
  • Arthur Hiller and Hal Ashby both turned down the chance to direct.
  • Arthur Laurents turned down an offer to rewrite the screenplay.
  • Robert Altman and Sidney Lumet were considered as potential directors.
  • Despite all the backstage disagreements, the film came in under schedule and under budget.
  • The only version of "A Star Is Born" (out of the four) where the two leads were not nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Spoilers

  • Producer Jon Peters was not okay with the central story element, where John Norman committed suicide after his fall from stardom. While this detail had been part of the script in every previous version, as well as the original Frank Pierson script, Peters successfully pushed to make Norman's death ambiguous. He dies in a car accident, but it's not clear what caused the fatal crash in the final cut.
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