Barbra Streisand is in talks to star in a second big-screen adaptation of the 1959 Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents Broadway musical 'Gypsy,' taking on the role of stage mother Rose (played by Ethel Merman in the original production and by Rosalind Russell in the 1962 film).

Streisand, who apparently has been interested in the role for almost a decade, has met with Sondheim and Laurents to discuss the production, according to a report in the New York Times. In a telephone interview with the paper, Laurents -- who wrote the book for 'Gypsy' and directed its 2008 revival on Broadway starring Patti LuPone -- said that Warner Bros. and Joel Silver were attached as producers, but that no director had been chosen.

The role of Rose, the big, brassy, bossy and pushy mother to famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (played by Natalie Wood in the film), would be a perfect fit for Streisand, who has been conspicuous by her big-screen absence for almost a decade (until her recent turns as Roz Focker in the two 'Focker' sequels). Though 'Gypsy' is ostensibly about Gypsy Rose and her rise to become a burlesque star, the show really belongs to mama Rose and her backstage maneuverings.
According to the Times, Sondheim met with Streisand a few months ago and said that "she wants to do it." Laurents said he had met with Streisand twice over the last month and said "things are serious and a movie is truly in the works." He also said that Streisand liked his suggestion that Tom Hanks play the role of Herbie, Rose's love interest (played by Karl Malden in the film) and the talent manager of her two daughters, Baby June and Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee). "Barbra loved the idea," Laurents said.

Laurents also scotched rumors that Streisand would direct the film. He told the Times she once wanted to "but playing Rose is enough to make her happy." And, when asked about her age (Streisand is 69; Rose starts out much younger in the story), Laurents said "First of all, they can do magic in Hollywood. Second, does it really matter?"

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categories Movies, Cinematical