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

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 19, 2011 at 6:25AM

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.
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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.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, News, Tom Hooper, Musical


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.