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Streisand/Hooper Gypsy Movie Remake is Dead, and Sondheim Killed It

by Anne Thompson
March 19, 2011 6:25 AM
6 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

Blame Stephen Sondheim. For those of you who missed the news, Barbra Streisand's planned remake of the musical Gypsy has bit the dust, at least for now. And it reportedly had Oscar-winning The King's Speech director Tom Hooper attached.

What happened? Original book writer and rightsholder Arthur Laurents, 93, was going along with the plan, and all was well. But he changed his tune after Sondheim talked him out of it, reports The Guardian The Hartford Courant:

He recently spoke with the musical's lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, who asked Laurents why he wanted to allow the film project to happen. "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.' 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.

"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."

How would she have been in the film?

"She could have done it," he says.

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More: Directors, Genres, News, Tom Hooper, Musical

6 Comments

  • willie | March 22, 2011 6:00 AMReply

    Streisand is a great singer, but I wish she'd have used her voice more in the past two decades or so (i.e. making records) because time eventually takes it's toll on one's pipes, and she has certainly taken her sweet time when it comes to making music.

  • Ralph | March 21, 2011 3:02 AMReply

    I urge Stephen Sondheim to reconsider. Streisand is a perfect Mama Rose. And that great score cries out to be redone on film. Let's go!

  • Dixon Steele | March 21, 2011 2:43 AMReply

    The very idea that Warners would spend over $100 million to produce and market this project (produced by Joel Silver yet!) was absurd to begin with.

    But I thought the Burton/Depp SWEENEY TODD was excellent, as did Sondheim.

  • Michael | March 20, 2011 5:23 AMReply

    The film would have been great

    The Rossland Russel verssion was terrible

    I was very much looking forward to seeing STrisand play that role

    She would have been a knockout
    Maybe they could not just come up wiht a good film script
    It has been filmed twice.
    The script must be the problem.
    West Side STroy was a damn good film
    And it is still done on stage.

    Whe knows the real reason this was shelved

  • james | March 20, 2011 3:08 AMReply

    So Stephen Sondheim has no problem with Tim Burton
    making a travesty of "Sweeney Todd," gutting the score (no pun intended), and hiring non-singers who can barely belt out the tunes, but Sondheim can't handle the thought of Streisand, our best musical singer/actress, in a remake of "Gypsy?" Give me a break!

  • Jack | March 19, 2011 9:38 AMReply

    This news broke in the Hartford Courant last weekend, not the Guardian, and it's been reported by numerous outlets already including the Los Angeles Times and The Advocate. Also Tom Hooper's name is misspelled in the quoted text.

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