Barbra Streisand's Gypsy Adaptation Falls Apart, Even With Tom Hooper Interested
The prospect of a Barbra Streisand-starring movie remake of Gypsy always seemed a little iffy. There's already one totemic adaptation out there starring Rosalind Russell, and plus the play itself has been on Broadway twice in the last decade, with none other than Broadway legends Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone playing great white whale of a lead role, Mama Rose. Sure, Barbra is her own kind of icon, but at 69 she'd be by far the oldest actress to take the part, and aside from her occasional appearances in the Fockers movies, hadn't seemed all that interested in acting these days anyway.
On top of all of it, Streisand had to secure the cooperation of the musical's two creators, writer Arthur Laurents and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. And that seems to be where the entire project finally derailed. Talking to The Hartford Courant for some reason, Laurents said the project is dead, that he and Streisand had discussed it for some time but that eventually he and Sondheim realized there was no real need for a new movie version of the story. Here's his somewhat confusing explanation:
"[Sondheim] said, 'What is the point of it?' And I said, 'They have this terrible version with Rosalind Russell wearing those black and white shoes.' And then Sondheim told me something that he got from the British -- and it's wonderful. He said, 'You want a record because the theater is ephemeral. But that's wrong. The theater's greatest essence is that it is ephemeral. You don't need a record. The fact that it's ephemeral means you can have different productions, different Roses on into infinity.'
The oddest part of it all is that newly minted Best Director Oscar winner Tom Hooper (of The King's Speech, of course) was reportedly interested in directing the project before it fell apart. Maybe Laurents and Sondheim were just as upset as you are that Hooper robbed David Fincher of his Oscar, or maybe they really were just worried about another movie screwing up Mama Rose. Either way, your chance to see one more legendary diva take on the part has now passed you by. But don't worry, inevitably the next Broadway revival will be along soon enough.
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