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Is Barbra Streisand’s Gypsy movie finally happening?

By Ben Kelly

Barbra Streisand’s long time plan to remake a movie of the musical Gypsy now seems like it will certainly happen, as the project has officially been picked up by STX Entertainment.

The Oscar and Grammy Award winner optioned the musical for the big screen in 2011, and has persisted behind the scenes on her passion project ever since. Now, it seems that production could start as early as this year, with Barry Levinson (Rain Man) directing.

STX chairman Adam Fogelson told Variety, “It’s Barbra Streisand doing one more, if not the last, movie musical of her career,” adding that he was excited by, “the type of talent that is clamoring to work with her on one of the most famous and satisfying musicals ever.”

Gypsy, a 1959 musical by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, is considered among the greatest of American musicals, telling the life story of burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee. The key role of her domineering mother Mama Rose has become one of theatre’s most sought after parts for women, and has seeped out into the zeitgeist as the ultimate example of an overbearing stage mother.

mama rose

The role was created for musical powerhouse Ethel Merman, and has since been played by Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone and Imelda Staunton, who won an Olivier Award for her performance just last week.

It has previously been rumoured that Streisand was eyeing up Lady Gaga for the role of her daughter Louise, and John Travolta for the role of her husband Herbie. She hosted them both at her home last summer.

Gypsy was made into a film in 1962 with Rosalind Russell. It was also made for TV in 1993 with Bette Midler.

As for the upcoming Streisand version, Fogelson said he has “a vision for how to turn it into a motion picture event.”

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