Update: Laurents has gone over to rivals the NY Times and clarified the NY Post report, saying Streisand will just star in the film, not direct, and that he suggest Tom Hanks in the role of Herbie and that “Barbra loved the idea.”
It looks like Barbra Streisand is eager to put the memory of “Little Fockers” behind her (aren’t we all) and is gearing up for her first big screen musical since 1983’s “Yentl.”
The New York Post reports that Barbra Streisand is in negotiations to take on a triple threat of responsibility, directing, producing and starring in an adaptation of the Broadway musical “Gypsy.” Streisand recently received the approval of Arthur Laurents who wrote the book for the show and controls some of the rights. “Barbra and I have been getting along very well now for some time,” Laurents said. “We’ve talked about it a lot, and she knows what she’s doing. She has my approval.” That said, she likely has to also get the thumbs up from Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics, and the estates of Jule Styne, the composer, and Jerome Robbins, the original director before she can move forward.
The musical is a showbiz tale about a driven mother who wants to turn her daughters into stage stars; Streisand hopes to take on the role of Mama Rose herself. It is considered one of the greatest musicals of all time and was made into a 1962 film directed by Mervyn LeRoy starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood.
Frankly, it sounds like a film right in the sweet spot for Streisand and with her name leading the charge, we’re sure she can corral a helluva cast for this thing. With Laurents giving the nod, we’re sure he’s one domino to that will cause the rest of the rights holders around the film to follow suit. Laurents is a legend and well, so is Babs, and if anyone can bring back a big ol’ fashioned musical with flair we think she can.