Barbra Streisand declares: 'I'm not a diva'

Dec. 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM ET

If you're among those who thinks of Barbra Streisand and the word "diva" comes to mind, you might be especially interested in the singing legend's new role, in which she's anything but. In "The Guilt Trip" Streisand plays Joyce, mom to a character played by Seth Rogan. Joyce is a Gap-loving, sneaker-wearing, candy-eating, doting mom from New Jersey. In other words, she's anything but a diva.

In an exclusive interview with TODAY host Savannah Guthrie, the singer says she and the character have lots in common. "Yeah, there's a part of me that's very like Joyce. You know, I'm -- I like to be very comfortable, so I was able to wear sweatsuits and sneakers, you know -- the part of me that really came from Brooklyn," she said. 

To be clear, Streisand emphasizes that despite what some people might say, "I'm not a diva. I don't think so," she said. "I'm very down-to-earth."

But back to Brooklyn -- Streisand recently performed her very first concert there, an experience that was meaningful, she told Guthrie. "It made me really appreciate coming from Brooklyn. You just know where you stand in Brooklyn ... Those are my people. That's where I was born. That's where I was raised. That's where I also wanted to escape from."

Escaping is something Streisand is able to do from time to time. She told Guthrie that she and her husband James Brolin are fans of taking a road trip.

"We bought a truck with a bench seat so you could sit next to each other," Streisand said. "It's fun to get away. You close those doors and it's just the two of you."

Acting, performing, going on road trips: Streisand's life has been a full one of late. But there's one type of project she still hopes to tackle. Like many performers before her, she's wants a chance to be a director.

"I wanna direct movies. That's what I wanna do. Be behind the camera, not in front of the camera. Just get the best out of actors, the best out of a story," Streisand said. In the meantime though, Streisand says she's feeling grateful for how things have unfolded.

"You know, as I said on stage in these tours, I was feeling very grateful at this period of my life. And grateful for the people who have supported me for a lot of years. And grateful for life itself."

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