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.