Barbra Streisand doesn’t get in front of movie cameras very often, but when she does, it always creates a bit of a stir, so no surprise that back in January when news dropped that a film version of the musical “Gypsy” was in development with the actress/singer to star, buzz started building. But alas, it’s all for naught as Arthur Laurents, the aging writer of the musical, has changed his mind and kiboshed the idea.
Speaking with the Hartford Courant, Laurents recalls Streisand petitioning him hard to be able to take on the iconic role in the film version but reveals that Stephen Sondheim swayed his decision, suggesting the musical will live on better on the boards rather than on celluloid. “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,'” Laurents explained. “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,” Laurent says, closing any opportunity on a new film while also revealing it naturally attracted some top shelf talent.
“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,” Laurent said. You can practically hear the tears of film studios who would’ve loved to pair the Oscar-winning Hooper with a big splashy, prestige pic.
But no need to weep for Streisand. She’s moved on to the road trip comedy “My Mother’s Curse” with Seth Rogen and it’s already set for a March 30, 2012 release.