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Barbra Streisand to star and direct in new ‘Gypsy’ film?

By Josh Haggis

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 12.24.57

Barbra Streisand could now be set to direct and star in the long-planned new film adaptation of Gypsy.

A new movie version of Gypsy has been in the works for several years, with Streisand in the frame to play Mama Rose, a character who has become known as “the ultimate show business mother” since the classic Broadway musical was first performed in 1959.

Gypsy was previously adapted for the big screen in 1992, with Rosalind Russell as Mama Rose, and then became a TV movie led by Bette Midler in 1993.

Now Universal Pictures have reportedly hired screenwriter Richard LaGravenese to work on the script for the new film adaptation of the musical, which was itself loosely based on the memoirs of renowned burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee.

LaGravenese previously wrote the script for Streisand’s 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces, which she directed and starred in, and also penned HBO’s acclaimed Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra.

Though 72-year-old Streisand is over two decades older than Ethal Merman was when she originated the role of Mama Rose at the age of 51 in 1959, the Woman in Love singer has been working on bringing Gypsy to the big screen again for several years, and is said to remain keen to play the iconic “momager” role.

Now Hollywood insider Nikki Finke reports that Streisand is being lined up to direct the film too. “Everybody feels why isn’t Barbra directing Gypsy herself,” a source has apparently told Finke.

However, the decision as to who will play each of Gypsy‘s three main roles, and who will direct the film, ultimately lies with Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics to the 1959 musical.

Streisand last appeared on the big screen in 2012’s The Guilt Trip, a comedy co-starring Seth Rogen in which she gave her first performance as a lead in 16 years. The last movie-musical she directed (and starred in) was 1983’s Yentl, which won her a Golden Globe for Best Director.

Meanwhile, Imelda Staunton is set to play Mama Rose in a forthcoming UK stage revival of Gypsyclick here to find out more. Other actresses to have taken on the formidable role over the years include Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone and Tyne Daly.