Barbra Streisand, Barry Levinson Reviving ‘Gypsy’ for STX Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

Barbra Streisand Gypsy
John Salangsang/BFAnyc.com/REX/Shutterstock

Barbra Streisand may realize her dreams of bringing Mama Rose to the big screen.

STX Entertainment is in advanced negotiations to make “Gypsy” with the Grammy and Oscar winner taking the lead role, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”) directing. Production on the film hit a snag last fall after Universal Pictures put the project into turnaround. It had been developing “Gypsy” for several years, stretching back to STX chairman Adam Fogelson’s days as the movie studio’s head.

Streisand will produce the film with Joel Silver (“Lethal Weapon”) and his Silver Pictures label. Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King”) is writing the film, with Streisand involved in developing the script.

It’s a meaty role for Streisand that will see her playing one of the most infamous stage mothers in history and belting out such signature numbers as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Previous actresses who have put their stamp on Mama Rose include Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury and Bernadette Peters. Production could start this year.

“It’s Barbra Streisand doing one more, if not the last, movie musical of her career,” said Fogelson, 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” tells the story of  the burlesque legend Gypsy Rose Lee’s troubled childhood, growing up with a fiercely ambitious mother, whose mission it is to push her daughters up the vaudeville ladder. It is considered one of the greatest musicals ever made — boasting music by Jule Styne (“Bells Are Ringing”), lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (“Into the Woods”) and a book by Arthur Laurents (“West Side Story”). It was first made into a film in 1962 with Rosalind Russell playing Mama Rose and Natalie Wood starring as Gypsy Rose Lee.

Fogelson said he was familiar with the project from his time at Universal and told Variety that he believes that STX has “a vision for how to turn it into a motion picture event.”

Streisand and LaGravenese are represented by CAA. Levinson is represented by ICM.

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  1. It’s on! It’s off! It’s on! It’s off! It’s on! With all the controversy surrounding this movie and Streisand’s advanced age, it is doomed to fail. I would have loved to see her do it 30 years ago.

  2. Nick says:

    Everyone is forgetting that legends aren’t legends because they are the most talented! She has a voice to reckoned with, no doubt… what makes her a legend is our inability to look away. She has gravitas that is simply inescapable. Rather than worrying about if she can sing it… which she can, lets focus on how she’ll play it. Yes she is older now, but it isn’t simply a nice thought to think she could do it. On stage, we do not ever discriminate based on numerical age. It is all about energy. She has a fire in her that can be coaxed into a wonderful portrayal. No matter what she touches it more often then not sells. She has a high sense of quality and though she has worked in some flops, they were not ever films under her artistic control. I trust her artistic sense implicitly. She would never mar herself in something she really could not do. Support her and see what happens. She is strong but cares deeply what people say despite her professional exterior. Be generous and support this legend. She has earned all of our respect.

  3. David says:

    That ship has sailed, she is way, way to old. When the show start, Rose has a five (or so) year old child. Get real. It’s not even dignified.

  4. EddyL says:

    Barbra Streisand. She’ll be swell! She’ll be great!

  5. Andy Scanlon says:

    This is fabulous news. I can envision her as Mama Rose. I know she will give it her all. Can’t wait for the release.

  6. david mac says:

    Check out Imedelia Stauntons’ “Roses Turn” on youtube from London.
    VOLCANIC PERFECTION! An acting lesson in control. That is the best Rose EVER!

  7. MIke says:

    How about Laura Benanti reprising her Tony-winning role for the film

  8. dutterman says:

    They should seriously consider Meg Myers for Gypsy Rose Lee. She can sing, act and is beautiful.

  9. MG says:

    IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN IF SHE KEEPS DRAGGING HER FEET.

  10. Lola Cherson says:

    Your story omits two great performances of Mama Rose: Patti Lupone on Broadway and Bette Midler on CBS television, which produced huge ratings.

  11. Andrea Ahearn says:

    Barbra has always been fantastic in anything she has done, I would expect as Mama Rose she would be
    spectacular. I can hardly to see her performance.

  12. Paul says:

    When Streisand played Yentl she was 43 years old… and Yentl was supposed to be 16 years old . She did great. She will do great again. What is the big deal of someone one age playing a completely different age of a character. It is called acting. Actors commonly play much older parts then they are… sometimes they even play superheroes (when if fact they aren’t). Stop commenting about her chronological age. She will do great. And besides she won’t be playing all the parts in the movie. Mama Rose is only one element. The crucial roll is Gypsy.

  13. Mitch Bouton says:

    That is hilarious to label Streisand “untalented”….Especially when she holds every award that one can win in entertainment. If you don’t bother to look stuff up then your opinion means nothing.

  14. LADoug says:

    And how can we forget about Roz Russell’s portrayal with Natalie Wood?

  15. TM says:

    STX is on a fast track to bankrupcy. Think it can’t happen. Pick up MY INDECISION IS FINAL about the rise and fall of Goldcrest Films. Vanity projects killed a viable mini studio.

  16. macd says:

    Streisand doesn’t look a day over 50, her voice is in peak condition, and she’ll finally give us the definitive “Gypsy” we’ve been waiting for. Though too small a role, the sensational Derek Hough as the kid who sings and dances to “All I Need is the Girl” will make his long-overdue breakthrough into movie stardom. Under Hough’s tutelage, Jennifer Lawrence could make for a sensational Gypsy (or else hire a talented unknown; Natalie Wood was the only memorable element from the otherwise ghastly 1962 movie version). Cast Kevin Bacon as Herbie, reuniting him with his terrific “Diner” director Levinson some 30 years later. Audiences sick and tired of comic-book movies will flock to “Gypsy”. And I’ll be first in line!
    (And, yes, I know every word I’ve written will be pounced on by the Streisand-haters.)

  17. tommy says:

    this is a haters nest. like it or not, babs still rules

  18. pghrob says:

    Can we hope for Cher as Gypsy and Bette Middler as June? Hey, they’d make Babs look younger…lol

  19. alan says:

    Now we are going to have a Jewish Mama Rose????????? oy vey!!!!!!!!!!! Barbra was too young and wrong for Dolly Levy and certainly no Mama Rose. Ethel must be turning in her grave.

  20. Mitch Rapp says:

    Just what we need. Another remake of a marginally good movie with an old has been in the lead roll.

    • Thomas M. says:

      Ehh… It’s not a remake of a movie, it’s another adaptation of the stage play – which is one of the greatest works of theater of the last century.

  21. Bill B. says:

    She’s totally wrong for the role and waaay too old at this point. It’s sing from your guts type of music. She hasn’t done anything in decades that could be described in any other way than “pretty”, which would be very inappropriate for this piece.

  22. SED says:

    I won’t be watching

  23. Nicky Arnstein says:

    Very exciting news!

  24. kcm says:

    A disaster waiting to happen…

  25. Fat Marty says:

    Well ok. Maybe …. as long as there is a ZERO PERCENT CHANCE that Babs will bare her booty.

  26. Cool, another movie, I’ll NEVER see

  27. roxanne mellingeer says:

    Streisand is way TOO old and unfortunate-looking. Rose was in her 30’s and retired in her 40’s.

    At least Streisand will go out in another flop. People don’t like her, she’s not a talent like Doris Day.

    • 4/13/16 9:02a Variety Gypsy Mama Rose was Born in 1890 making her 40 in 1930 Gypsy Rose Lee was 19. What did Mama Rose retire from: A Stage Mom? She had no career exactly. In 1940 Mama Rose was 50. Most of the Film TV Stage projects were with Actors in their 50’s when playing Mama Rose.

    • 4/12/16 10:09a Variety Brent Lang Barbra Streisand As Mama Rose ”Gyspy”
      roxanne mellingeer: Barbra Streisand will play Mama Rose not Gypsy Rose Lee.

    • Ken says:

      Millions have LOVED her for more than 50 years now. Speak for yourself. GYPSY, if produced, will be HUGE. Count on it.

      • Mitch Rapp says:

        Huge? Really? Want to make a wager on that? Maybe I shouldn’t bet with you. You are clearly delusional and I wouldn’t want to take advantage of the handicapped.

      • roxanne mellingeer says:

        >>Millions have LOVED her for more than 50 years now<<

        You're right, she's ancient. She'll be 74 in two weeks. Good luck with that.

  28. Repubsuk says:

    All the knuckle-dragging conservaturds getting paid a nickel with each nasty post is hilarious. Most thinking people wouldn’t even feel the need to post something about someone they don’t like – but republicons don’t have the brains to know any better. They’re like a cult. If you don’t think like they do – you can’t join their little club. Little do they realize – most people don’t think like they do.

  29. Alan says:

    Sorry. Can’t look at or listen to her without hearing the liberal garbage she spews. She may have talent, but like so many other uneducated socialists, she expects us to value her political opinions simply because she’s a “star”.

    • The Red Scare Is Over, Folks says:

      It’s hilarious the way ‘mericans bandy the term “socialist” around. Clueless. LOL.

  30. Aleric says:

    I smell a bomb about to be created.

  31. She has an awesome voice, pretty and awesome legs and….

  32. jackdeth72 says:

    Ummmm….

    Who exactly, is this proposed film’s “targeted audience” supposed to be, anyway?

    I can’t think of one.

  33. Barbara says:

    What about Roslyn Russell?

  34. I lost interest in this a long time ago.

  35. Harry says:

    So, which 6 people will watch that one?
    Who does the princess have dirt on this time for that to happen?

  36. MidwestNorsk says:

    Oh no. Not that dumb broad.

  37. Team USA says:

    At last, a Streisand project that will crush the Marvel Gods at the box office with millennials! Next stop—Oscar buzz!

  38. eric blair says:

    Babs is a one note from Funny Girl on. The same incredulous, clipped, nasal delivery with nearly everything she says. And good luck trying to direct this over the hill diva. The heavy handed mawkish Levinson is another story that will make this thing hard to digest. Guarantied to be one archaic bore as Babs repeats the same routine from 69.

  39. Antique Jenkum says:

    Her best-role ever was in the South Park cartoon…

  40. carac100 says:

    Is she going to play her as a stage grandmother? Terrible casting.

  41. DC Norman says:

    Why? Dear God, WHY?

  42. Oh man – I hope she’s not gonna strip.

    Ugghhhh – that would be disgusting.

  43. rick charles says:

    Ugly and untalented. I’ll be thrilled not to see it. Can’t imagine sitting through a movie with her caterwauling the entire time.

  44. A Drapkin says:

    does anyone dare say that she’s too old for this role. Mama Rose is suppose to have two young kids at the beginning. It was stretching it to have Rosalind Russell or Ethel Merman play a Mom at that time of their lives…Streisand in her seventies has two young girls?

  45. skyway2ls says:

    There you go – don’t choose an actress in her 30s or 40s to play Rose – choose someone who is 73. You know, 73 year olds commonly have 5 to 15 year old kids. I’m sure it will be very realistic. Good Lord, the least they could have done is get someone in her 50s. Catherine Zeta Jones would be wonderful in that part – really wonderful. Babs has seen her day and has no versatility to be able to play anything but the same part over and over again.

  46. Rob Bennett says:

    The only thing that could make this even more of I’ll never see movie is if they sneak in jane Hanoi fonda somewhere.

  47. Chasseur says:

    Wow! huzzah! This is going straight to the top of my “Must Ignore” list!, vanity project.. Who’s could think such a thing?

  48. Alan Anderson says:

    Barbara will never top Ethel Merman as momma Rose just like she could not top Carol Channing as Dolly.

    • KWK says:

      But Channing in the film version of HELLO DOLLY would have been a total disaster. Streisand was the only good thing, the drawing card, for that big ungainly movie.

  49. Julio RODRIGUEZ MORENO says:

    Barbra looks half her age, and nowadays in Hollywood they can make anyone look years-light younger anyway. Her pipes are more than decent by todays standards, and her style continues to be unique. Talented She is, and still scoring # 1s albums after 60 years of a hell of a recording career , so there will be an audience out there for this film; no doubt . The question is…is this story still relevant today? ‘ A Star is Born’ didn’t need another remake back in 1976 , but Barbra got away with it because of the original soundtrack and a couple of good moments .Yentl was a real labor of love and it proved many things for Barbra. But Gypsy in the second decade of the 2000’s will need an extra in order to be relevant. if the point is to make this filmfor Barbra to say good bye to musicals in a higher note; this might not be as successful as many think. We just will have to wait, and see. Cheers!

    • Micah Kayslinowski says:

      ITA … I have no problem with it; I just never particularly liked the show. While Barbra’s voice has remained remarkably unchanged (with ballads), her (((belting))) days are long gone, and I worry about that. But considering she’s wanted to do this for decades, I suspect some of the tracks have already been laid and there will be some fancy editing for her musical numbers. Also, as you said … her age is indeed a non-issue. She does in fact look 25 yrs. younger than her linear years.

      • Julio RODRIGUEZ MORENO says:

        I’m with you every step of the way. I just hope She gets it right. Cheers!

    • Ron Basko says:

      Congratulations! You sound like a fanatical Left Wingnut. I thought you wacks were only allowed out of your cages on weekends.

      • Julio Rodriguez Moreno says:

        Poor you! So sorry you are so bitter inside( if there is any ” inside ” at all).
        And talking about cages,do yourself a big favour and get back in yours.

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