Saturday, April 20, 2024

Barbra Streisand’s “Gypsy” Movie: Nothing is Coming Up Roses as Film Financing Struggles


Will Louise ever sing out on film again?

Barbra Streisand’s desire to play Mama Rose in a remake of Mervyn LeRoy’s “Gypsy” really hit a snag recently when STX Entertainment suddenly pulled out as financier and distributor.

I’m told STX had agreed to pony up $25 million as long as producer Joel Silver had $15 million from another entity. That was Access Industries and Len Blavatnik. But when the latter got cold feet, STX couldn’t find anyone to replace them. And that was the end of “Gypsy.”

“STX is not set up for a big budget musical,” my source explained. “Their whole charter is mid level entertainment, like Bad Moms.” Indeed, STX took a bath on the so-called serious “Free State of Jones.” “Bad Moms” was in their sweet spot– low brow comedy that plays like a big TV show. Their other hits were movies you haven’t even heard of– horror thrillers “The Gift” and “The Boy.”

This “Gypsy” was supposed to be directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson, who doesn’t come cheap. A $40 million price tag seems low for such a production. Streisand, you’d think, would be asking for $15 million at least. Plus all the key roles would have to be stars.

And the age situation would be an issue. Streisand is 74 and looks great, so let’s say she’s playing 60. Her daughters still have to be in their late teens, early 20s. The whole thing has a lot of tweaking ahead of it. Screenwriter Richard LaGravanese would have to explain some of this in the story.

So what now? Producer Joel Silver has to find a new source of financing. In the meantime, Streisand should just organize a recording of “Gypsy”– where age has no issue and financing isn’t a problem. Just cast it like a movie with great singers. Get Laura Benanti back to play Louise again. Have Stephen Sondheim direct the music. That’s a slam dunk.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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