EXCLUSIVE: The movie adaptation of Gypsy that has Barbra Streisand attached to star as the iconic Momma Rose has suffered a setback. Universal Pictures, which developed the film for several years, finally took a hard look at the musical and put it into turnaround. It now will be up to Streisand and producer Joel Silver to find another backer for a picture that is ready to go. I’m told they had Robert Luketic in line to direct a Julian Fellowes script. This was all blessed by book writer Arthur Laurents and lyricist Stephen Sondheim before Laurents died in 2011. Warner Bros continues to have the right to be co-financier.
No one would say exactly why Universal had a course change, but the studio’s experiences on Steve Jobs and its inability so far to crack beyond art house and into the mainstream shows that every one of these movies boils down to this hard conversation: Are enough adults going to show up to make this worthwhile?
Universal’s musical repertoire right now is minting new installments of Pitch Perfect (Elizabeth Banks will direct the third installment), the Mamma Mia! sequel and the movie adaptation of Wicked that is percolating slowly because the studio continues to mint money from the stage show it built after the Winnie Holzman script stalled at the studio and it instead was repurposed as a musical.
Silver just wrapped the Shane Black-directed The Nice Guys with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Warner Bros releases it domestically May 20.