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Arthur Laurents Says 'Gypsy' With Barbra Streisand No Longer Happening; Tom Hooper Eyed Directing

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 14, 2011 1:37 AM
3 Comments
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Barbra Streisand doesn't get in front of movie cameras very often, but when she does, it always creates a bit of a stir, so no surprise that back in January when news dropped that a film version of the musical "Gypsy" was in development with the actress/singer to star, buzz started building. But alas, it's all for naught as Arthur Laurents, the aging writer of the musical, has changed his mind and kiboshed the idea.

Speaking with the Hartford Courant, Laurents recalls Streisand petitioning him hard to be able to take on the iconic role in the film version but reveals that Stephen Sondheim swayed his decision, suggesting the musical will live on better on the boards rather than on celluloid. "He said, 'What is the point of it?' And I said, 'They have this terrible version with Rosalind Russell wearing those black and white shoes,'" Laurents explained. "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.'"

"So I don't want it now. I don't want a definitive record. I want it to stay alive," Laurent says, closing any opportunity on a new film while also revealing it naturally attracted some top shelf talent.

"I think [Streisand] is disappointed. She wanted very much to do it. That would have been a good exit for her career. Tom Hooper ["The King's Speech"] wanted to direct it. I think he's wonderful," Laurent said. You can practically hear the tears of film studios who would've loved to pair the Oscar-winning Hooper with a big splashy, prestige pic.

But no need to weep for Streisand. She's moved on to the road trip comedy "My Mother's Curse" with Seth Rogen and it's already set for a March 30, 2012 release.

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More: Films, Musicians, Musicals, Barbra Streisand, Gypsy

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3 Comments

  • Robert Arditti | April 17, 2011 10:09 AMReply

    I think that B Streisand is the perfect choice for this movie and this role. I grewup loving the show and the original film with Russel but here we have a star that looks great at almost 70 sings better than many half her age and has great comedy to boot. Rose needs to have that or she looses the public because she just becoms brittle like a lot of the brash theatre Queens that have played this role.
    You also need sombody who knows how to be seen by a camera and BS knows that in spades. I met Gypsy many years ago at pinewood studios in England when she was advising on a move about a stripper. She came into the commersary to have her lunch and I was sitting alone ans she asked if she could sit at my table, well I was over the moon and we had a very pleasant lunch together. I talked to her about the show and she told me what she thought of it. I remember the one thing that seemed to come out more than any other was that she said her mother loved her girls, and that Rose was never a Diva.
    Maybe this is the thing that many that have played this role missed.

  • PalmSprings | March 17, 2011 3:51 AMReply

    Streisand really botched Laurents' "The Way We Were," so much so that it has become one of the greatest film classics of all time. Because of Streisand, not Laurents -- there were extensive rewrites over his protests.

    She's such a "novice" interpreting lyrics that when she urged Sondheim to substantially modify many hits for her, e.g., 'Send in the Clowns,' her instincts and exquisite interpretations made all of them part of the American Songbook. Because of Barbra Streisand. Her versions.

    SHE is an American Treasure. She can direct, act, sing, and produce. Laurents wants "Gypsy" to remain ephemeral? Perhaps he should have allowed this gift -- and gone into retirement some time ago.

  • benatnight | March 16, 2011 5:59 AMReply

    Just a bunch of silly queens arguing. Streisand, though perhaps wrong for it, shoud've gotten it. I used to like Laurent and Sondheim (though sometimes Sondheims songs are just "too preciious", like wickedly sugared candy). "Gypsy" with Streisand would NOT have been the definitive version, just a different one. Shame on them.

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