Mike Fleming

While a litany of trade reports over the weekend pronounced dead a movie adaptation of Gypsy that was to star Barbra Streisand, I’m told don’t dress for the funeral just yet. The project is very much alive. In fact, a deal is close to being made at Universal Pictures, with Joel Silver producing. Streisand’s still in as Rose and so are book writer Arthur Laurents and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Those reports were based on an interview that Laurents did with a Hartford Courant blogger, in which the book writer proclaimed he was withdrawing permission because he and Sondheim decided they didn’t want a movie. I think they’ve changed their minds. Multiple sources said that the deal that’s closing gives the show creators a strong say over the screenwriter, director, choreographer and who’ll play the roles of Herbie and Louise. Warner Bros retains the rights to be co-financier after it rejected a deal that would have granted those same approvals to heirs. In the same article, Laurents is also quoted as saying that The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper was keen to direct, but I’m told that isn’t in the cards, either. Babs also won’t direct. Is this important? Well, some of the sites that picked up the story are surmising that that gays will be throwing themselves out windows because they won’t get to see Streisand in the iconic Gypsy. That’s silly. Of greater concern to me is the slippery slope that has been created on the web, and the willingness of outlets to accept any and every piece of reportage as fact without taking the time to verify.