Richard LaGravenese on GYPSY Updates, Barbra's Age, and More!
It's been one of the most talked about (and most stalled) musical projects of the past few years. Stage and screen legend Barbra Streisand has been working with Universal Pictures on a new big screen adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical GYPSY since 2011. This would be the third film of GYPSY having first been made in 1962 (starring Rosalind Russell) and then again in 1993 for television (starring Bette Midler).
Screenwriter and THE LAST FIVE YEARS director Richard LaGravenese recently told Queerty.com that the screenplay has been finished since before Christmas.
"Barbra and I worked on it from September through the fall," LaGravenese says. "I had the best time with her. I can't even tell you. It was like a fantasy come true."
He recounts that he would spend hours with Streisand as the two rewrote the script together. "I did my first draft and went to her house to do rewrites. She's so meticulous in the best possible way. We went through it page by page by page. I played Herbie and she played Rose. I'd play Louise and she'd play Rose. We laughed and had the best time together."
LaGrevenese expressed his keen desire as a theatre fan to see the singing sensation bring the character of Rose to life in the film, saying, "I hope it gets made because having her sing that score and play that part would be the penultimate moment for those of us who love that musical. She's just extraordinary to work with. She cares so much. She's so passionate about it. She's so smart. We had such a great time."
As for who will direct the film, LaGrevenese kept a tight lip.
Some have speculated that as a woman in her 70s, Streisand may not be the right age to film some of the earliest scenes in the film, which would feature her as a mother of a young girl, but LaGrevenese does not see that being a problem.
"I think it's more about her singing that score," he says. "She's an actress, and it's a movie. When Sarah Bernhardt was in her 70s she was performing younger roles. It doesn't matter to me. She looks fantastic, first of all. I'm not going to be watching the movie doing math. I just want to hear her do that part. I know she can do it." He says the script will not be amended to suit her age. "For those who are going to have that problem, nothing we do is going to help that. They're going to be out to comment on that. I'd rather have her play the part and sing that score and f*** the rest of it."