Mike Fleming

Last March, Deadline refuted a litany of web reports that Barbra Streisand’s dream to play the stage mother in Gypsy had died because Arthur Laurents no longer wanted the movie to get made. Deadline reported that Universal was making the deal and that producer Joel Silver was boarding the project. Today, Universal has announced it is moving forward with Oscar winning Gosford Park scribe Julian Fellowes. Here’s the official word:

LOS ANGELES, CA, March 13, 2012—Producers Barbra Streisand and Joel Silver have set Academy Award®-winning writer Julian Fellowes to pen the screenplay adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ Tony Award winning musical, Gypsy, which Ms. Streisand and Mr. Silver are currently developing for Universal Pictures. Ms. Streisand will portray “Momma Rose” in the new version, her first musical film since Yentl in which the Oscar®-winning actress and iconic singer starred, produced, co-wrote and directed in 1983.

Fellowes won the Original Screenplay Academy Award® for Gosford Park and most recently earned the Emmy and Golden Globe for creating and writing the acclaimed miniseries, Downton Abbey. His musical theatre work includes adapting the script for Disney’s stage production of Mary Poppins.

Gypsy has exhilarated audiences on both stage and screen since its first Broadway run in 1959 with Ethel Merman. Since then, the compelling story based on the memoirs of the famous striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee, has spawned numerous reincarnations including the 1962 film starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood, four Broadway revivals, as well as a made-for-television movie.

A celebrated artist, Streisand has gathered Oscar®, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America and Golden Globe awards, winning Oscars® for both, Best Actress (Funny Girl) and Best Original Song (for her composition of “Evergreen” from her production of A Star Is Born).

Gypsy marks Silver’s first foray into Broadway movie musicals after a career of producing several commercially-successful films including the Lethal Weapon, The Matrix, Die Hard and Sherlock Holmes franchises.