Barbra Streisand's Gypsy Adaptation Snags Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes To Write
Barbra Streisand's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurentsí Tony Award-winning musical Gypsy may be back on track, as a report from THR reveals Universal has hired Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes to pen the screenplay. Fellowes' captivating class-conflict TV series has won record-breaking acclaim for PBS, and thrown the spotlight on Fellowes in a major way. So, it's likely Gypsy producers Streisand and Joel Silver (yes, that Joel Silver) paid a pretty penny for Fellowes' coveted services. And rightly so, because all the buzz Fellowes brings to the project may help detract from its troubled beginnings.
Last year there was a dust-up over whether or not Sondheim and Laurents would sign off on another movie version of Gypsy, which famously tells the tale of burlesque superstar Gypsy Rose Lee and her horrifying stage mother, Momma Rose. At the time, it was rumored that Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper was considering directing the musical memoir, but by the time the project shifted from Warner Bros. to Universal and Sondheim and Laurents had given their blessing, Hooper had flown the coop. At this time, no director is attached to Gypsy, which appears to be intended to usher in Streisand's latest comeback.
Aside from her appearances in the woefully insipid Fockers flicks, the two-time Academy Award-winner has been largely absent from film for the last decade. Now, there's absolutely no word in THR's piece that suggests she's looking to star, but it's inconceivable to me that Babs would bring another Gypsy to audiences without sinking her teeth into the meaty role of Momma Rose, especially when it comes to "Rose's Turn." It's such a brassy song, born to be belted by a serious singer with a voice like buttah! I just can't fathom Streisand casting someone else to tackle this classic while she still has air in her lungs.
In case you're unfamiliar, here's diva Bette Midler unleashing her version in the 1993 Gypsy TV movie:
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