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.