Will Barbra Streisand go from the Focker family to Gypsy’s titanic Momma Rose? According to The New York Post, the superstar is “deep in negotiations” to produce and star in a new movie adaptation of the classic musical. Although the Post claimed that Streisand would direct the film version, an article in The New York Times reports she will not, quoting Gypsy librettist Arthur Laurents saying, "Playing Rose is enough to make her happy."
Laurents has given his blessing to Streisand’s planned film, the first big-screen version of the show since a 1962 film starring Rosalind Russell. Bette Midler starred in a 1993 TV movie, and the iconic matriarch Rose has been played on Broadway by Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone.
Laurents and Streisand have a long history, beginning with her first Broadway show, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, which he directed in 1962. Laurents wrote the screenplay for one of her biggest hits, The Way We Were, released in 1973. “We’re talking about Gypsy being a bookend for us,” the 92-year-old theatrical legend told the Post, adding that he would not write the script for Streisand’s film version. “She began with me, and this will be a grand farewell for us.” Laurents, who suggested that Oscar winner Tom Hanks take on the role of Herbie in the movie, told the Times, “I would be very pleased if we had a different film version for the historical record.”