Barbra Streisand: A star is reborn

Dustin Hoffman has been boasting of his success in getting Barbra Streisand's juices flowing before shooting saucy bits together as a bohemian married couple in the new comedy film, Meet the Fockers, the highly lucrative sequel to Meet the Parents. He resorted to straightforward flattery, commending her on the splendour of her boobs. "I whispered to Barbra, 'I love your breasts. They look great today.'" It worked, he says, because Streisand "loves her breasts". Meanwhile, he has been spilling the beans on something she told him on set - that she and her husband of six years, the actor James Brolin, enjoy sex six times a week. (Hoffman, 67, is apparently satisfied with just once.) It's a good thing it is Hoffman pulling these tricks, because only a star almost as big as Streisand could get away with it.

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Theatre: Don't give up the night job, Eddie

Lenny Queen's, London

Theatre: Lenny

Stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard has had a number of telling acting cameos recently - as the rock manager in Velvet Goldmine, the terrorist in The Secret Agent - but he is taking a major step up as the lead in Lenny, a West End revival directed by Sir Peter Hall. Julian Barry's play about Lenny Bruce, the comedian whose hard-hitting routines about politics scandalised America in the 1960s, was made into a tough film starring Dustin Hoffman in 1974. For this revival, the writer apparently especially asked for Izzard after seeing a video of his live act. It may well prove an inspired piece of casting: the styles of the two improvisational comedians are well-matched. In both their acts, the thrill of the unexpected constantly simmers below the surface.

Look out, he's dangerous

He was pure sex - and it was all done with the twitch of a lip and the arch of an eyebrow. David Thomson remembers Steve McQueen

THEATRE: CURTAIN CALLS

"Why don't you just try acting, dear boy?" Laurence Olivier's reputed response to Dustin Hoffman's Method acting in Marathon Man is one of several tart remarks in Other People's Shoes, Harriet Walter's book on acting. Were you to slip your hand into a threshing machine, the number of remaining fingers would equal the number of half-way decent books on the subject. Most of these fall into either the "teach your-self" or autobiographical camps. The former are humourless, usually ancient volumes outlining The Voice or Use of Costumes; the latter, self-aggrandising tales in which actors try to prove their intellectual credentials by analysing their craft after decades of talking about the indefinable mystery of theatre. Thus it is to her inestimable credit that Walter falls into neither trap. Her text may be dotted with autobiographical detail, but the meat of the book is cogent analysis of the processes and choices an actor makes when preparing and performing. It won't teach you "everything you need to know", but certainly shatters misconceptions.

Rise and flaws of a family business

WITH A history of some 175 years, C&J Clark is one of the UK's oldest family-owned businesses and, thanks to a reputation for producing good quality, comfortable shoes at affordable prices, a household name. But in recent years, the Somerset-based company has another claim to fame - for its internal strife.

Football: Team with class, cool and Kanu

Title tightrope: Wenger's champions seem to hold most of the aces. Now they have a trump card

Real Style: Play crazy for me

Forget youth and beauty - the secret of winning that Oscar is a disability that tugs on the heartstrings, says STUART HUSBAND

Shopping: How to spend a happy hour

I Want To Own A... Playboy's Bar Kit

Racing: Treacy at the double at Navan

TOM TREACY rode a 14-1 double on Delphi Lodge and Siberian Gale at Navan yesterday, writes Ian Davies.
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