In Hollywood they say ‘everything old is new again’ and that has never been more true this week than with a massive celebration of classic films and stars. There is tonight’s AFI Night At The Movies with 13 classic titles (including Best Picture winners like In The Heat Of The Night and Terms Of Endearment) taking up every screen at Hollywood’s Arclight Theatre complete with in-person introductions from their original stars (Shirley MacLaine, Cher, Sidney Poitier, Sally Field and Harrison Ford among them). There is a year-long centennial celebration of the great Danny Kaye and a reminder of his talent at year’s end with the Fox remake of a Kaye classic, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. And starting Thursday with the World Premiere restoration of Funny Girl, the 4th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off its four day run in Hollywood.
Even as competing fests this week at Tribeca and in San Francisco try to steal the spotlight for new films from a new generation, The Turner Classic Movies fest has become a big deal focusing on the past. And not only for the network, but as a signature event where studios can show off new digital restorations of classic films with the same hoopla that might have accompanied their original premieres. Though its stars Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif won’t be attending the Funny Girl restoration’s premiere at the Chinese Theatre tomorrow night (Sharif is in Europe; Streisand is sending a statement to be read by TCM host Robert Osborne) many vintage stars including festival honorees like Eva Marie Saint, Ann Blyth, Max Von Sydow and numerous others are expected to walk the red carpet. Competing for attention across the street at the Hollywood Roosevelt Pool will be TCM’s pristine digital presentation of 1958′s South Pacific with stars Mitzi Gaynor and France Nuyen on hand. TCM’s longtime talent exec, Darcy Hettrich has the herculean task of turning out all the great stars of Hollywood’s past that keep these fans buzzing. Read More »
Universal’s announcement today that Barbra Streisand’s Gypsy is going forward with Oscar- and Emmy- winning writer Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, Downton Abbey) assigned to adapt the musical is stirring much Internet talk (and chatter among Deadline commenters). They say Streisand is just too old to take on the iconic role of Rose, the bigger-than-life stage mother of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. But with her landmark 70th birthday looming on April 24th, Streisand knows it is now or never. And with a potential hit comedy – The Guilt Trip co-starring Seth Rogen — scheduled for release by Paramount on November 2nd, her movie career is on an upswing, and she probably feels the time is right for one last, hopefully great, screen musical and the one iconic stage musical role she’s never played. No word yet on who will direct, but it’s not likely to be Streisand — although that would be interesting. She hasn’t directed a musical since Yentl in 1983 or a movie since The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996.
The part is so strong it could be major awards fodder, a thought probably not lost on Streisand, who has won two Academy Awards (Best Actress for Funny Girl in 1968 and as co-writer of 1976′s best song, “Evergreen”, from A Star Is Born) but has only been Oscar-nominated twice for her acting and not since 1973′s The Way We Were. Read More »
Bobby Cannavale, a great New York actor, has landed an iconic New York role. The two-time Tony nominee will star as Nick Arnstein in the revival of Funny Girl, opposite Lauren Ambrose as Fanny Brice. This is the first time back for the musical since the original Broadway production, which featured music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart and closed after a three-year run in 1967. Bartlett Sher will direct the update, which is set for a run Jan. 15-Feb. 26, 2012, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. This will be the first shot at a musical for Cannavale, a film and TV veteran who made his Broadway debut it 2007 in Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius and recently starred in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherf**ker With the Hat, earning Tony noms for both. He’s repped by ICM.
Lauren Ambrose has been set to play Fanny Brice in the first Broadway run of Funny Girl since the musical originally opened in 1964. The new production, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, will be directed by Tony-winner Bartlett Sher. It will bow at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre from January 15-February 26 before opening on Broadway next spring. Ambrose has done stage turns in Romeo & Juliet in Shakespeare in the Park, Broadway runs in Awake and Sing and Buried Child at London’s National Theatre, and the producers said she started as a classically trained opera singer. “It’s important that people not see this casting process as trying to find the next Barbra Streisand,” Sher said. “Instead, I really needed someone with whom I could explore the original musical and come to terms with Fanny Brice for a new era. I understand how difficult this part is to fill as well as the characteristics required to explore this in a new way. The world of burlesque, vaudeville and the Follies is a unique American invention and how Fanny Brice came up in that world is a wonderful story, but this show is also about the sacrifices of being an artist and the high cost that women in particular suffer when they find great success and the difficult choices that come with accomplishment.”