LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Road-trip movies have been dominated by teenagers on wild adventures or “Hangover” style bro-mances, but Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen are driving the genre into new territories with mother-son comedy “The Guilt Trip” to usher in the holiday season.
“The Guilt Trip,” which hits U.S. theaters this week, follows struggling novice inventor Andy (Seth Rogen), who is guilted in to bringing his mother on a work-related road-trip across the country.
Streisand, 70, who broke out as an actress in 1968’s comedy “Funny Girl,” returns to her comedic roots as Joyce, Andy’s overbearing mother, who becomes closer to her son over the duration of their tense and comedic adventures on the road.
The actress told reporters at a recent press conference that it was her son Jason Gould who convinced her to do the project after reading the script with her, and Streisand found a deeper connection to the story.
“Mothers develop guilt trips,” Streisand said. “(When my own son was young) I was working a lot and I felt guilty as a parent that I cannot pick (up) my son everyday from school, bake him cookies, that kind of thing. And so you try and compensate.”
“I thought it was interesting to investigate this - trying to be his friend versus a mother...this movie, it hit on all those things that I thought I could explore.”
Rogen, 30, also related closely to the mother-son storyline, saying that while he has a “good relationship” with his own mom, even she can drive him “crazy” sometimes.
“That dynamic where your mother is trying and the more she tries, the more it bugs you, the more it bugs you, the more she tries....All that is very, at times, real to my relationship with my mother,” Rogen said.
Streisand, who is one of the few actresses to win a Tony, Emmy, Grammy and Oscar award over her six-decade career, last took a leading role in 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” which she also directed and produced.
The actress initially had reservations about signing onto the movie and said she gave the movie studio numerous clauses “because I kept wanting an out some way.”
Her requests included having a set “no more than 45 minutes away from my house” and later morning starts, as “my husband (James Brolin) and I stay up until two or three in the morning so we don’t function...at six in the morning.”
Streisand’s requests were granted, and thus came about a road trip movie where the actors never actually went on the road. The film ended up largely being shot on a sound stage with Streisand and Rogen in a car against a green screen while backdrops of landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, were added in later.
With the exception of a supporting role as Ben Stiller’s mother in 2004’s “Meet The Fockers” and 2010’s “Little Fockers,” Streisand has stayed out of the spotlight in recent years, and attributes that as one of the keys to her long-standing success.
“I don’t make many movies and I don’t make that many appearances. Less is more. Maybe that keeps a little mystery,” Streisand said, adding that she likes to “stay at home a lot.”
While she hasn’t signed onto another project just yet, she said what keeps her satisfied as an artist is engaging in work that is “private” as opposed to being on public display.
“I love recording and I love making films as a filmmaker,” she said. “Because it uses every bit of what you have experienced or know, whether it’s graphics, composition, decorating, psychology, storytelling, whatever it is. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Shumaker