Author Robert Hofler makes the claim in new book The Way They Were.

When it comes to any dialogue that might call into question his bedroom prowess, Robert Redford apparently has a hard line.

A new book, The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen, dives deep into the making of The Way We Were and the various challenges that emerged in its creation. In the book, which is out Jan. 27 in honor of the film's 50th anniversary, author Robert Hofler reports that Redford insisted a piece of dialogue implying his character Hubbell wasn't good in bed be cut from the script.

"Never spoken was a line that [Arthur] Laurents had put in both his novel and his screenplay, and it was a line that he wanted to cap the scene," Hofler writes. "Hubbell looks into Katie's [Barbra Streisand] eyes after their orgy of grapes and tells her, 'It'll be better this time.' Only Redford refused to say the line. He even made sure to have it crossed out in the working script."

After explaining how Redford had taken a similar tack when it came to wearing a Native American headdress as a symbol of his character's lack of integrity in The Candidate, Holfer adds, "Redford was never bad in bed. So how could Hubbell be?"

The book, which includes exclusive interviews with Redford and Barbra Streisand, delves deep into the protracted behind-the-scenes drama. It also alleges that Streisand was "infatuated" with Redford from the moment they met. In response, Redford wore two "athletic supporters" while filming their characters' main love scene (Streisand reportedly wore a bikini under the covers).

THE WAY WE WERE, from left: Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, 1973
Credit: Everett

Both director Sydney Pollack and writer Arthur Laurents spoke about Streisand's crush on Redford. At the time, Streisand reportedly had a reputation for having affairs with her leading men (Redford was then a happily married father of four).

The book recounts Pollack's words: "Barbra was delighted because she had a crush on him, even before we started. It was hard for women not to have a fixation, because he was everywhere, like Elvis. He was the golden boy long before Hubbell came along."

According to Laurents, "She was simply mesmerized by him because she found him so beautiful. She was infatuated with Robert Redford, who handled it well, neither encouraging her nor using her crush to his advantage."

Regardless, it worked well for the story, which recounts the doomed romance of Katie (Streisand) and Hubbell (Redford), two college students who meet in the Pre-WWII era of McCarthyism and blacklisting, only to discover that their mutual friendship and physical attraction can't outweigh their fundamental ideological opposition.

Reps for Streisand had no comment, and reps for Redford did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment

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The Way We Were
  • Movie
  • 118 minutes