Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012: A Big Year for Barbra Streisand

With the exception of her relatively small but memorable turn as Roz Focker in Meet the Fockers and her smaller and less memorable appearance in its sequel Little Fockers, Barbra Streisand has been off the screen since directing and starring in The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996. She hasn’t appeared in a musical since the 1983 movie Yentl. That is about to change. Barbra is set to star in another film version of the iconic Stephen Sondheim/Jule Styne/Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy. She’ll play Mama Rose, one of the most coveted roles in theater history, a part interpreted by Ethel Merman, Rosalind Russell, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters and Patty LuPone, among others.  
            Barbra will co-produce with Joel Silver (The Matrix, Sherlock Holmes). Their first executive decision certainly seems like a good one: the screenwriter will be Julian Fellowes, Emmy-winning writer/creator of Downton Abbey, Oscar-winner for writing Gosford Park. He also adapted the script of the film Mary Poppins for Disney’s stage version. No director has been set, but it likely will not be Barbra. Hopefully Rob Marshall will be available.
            Gypsy will likely not be released until Christmas 2013, but 2012 will be a busy year for Barbra for other reasons. October 1 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the day she signed her first recording contract with Columbia Records. The label will celebrate by releasing a lavish 12-DVD set featuring “unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life [with] never before seen footage directly from Barbra’s archives.”
            To cap off the year, on November 2 Paramount will release Guilt Trip, a road comedy starring Barbra and Seth Rogen as a mother and son who embark on a cross-country trek. It’s her first starring role in sixteen years, and the film promises to be a big hit. It has gotten strongly favorable reactions at screenings, and Rogen is very hot right now. Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses, The Proposal) is the director and Dan Fogelman (Cars, Crazy Stupid Love) wrote the script. Among the eight producers are Streisand, Rogen, Fogelman and Lorne Michaels.
            Paramount rescheduled the film from spring to late fall, which is a sign they feel it can compete well with all the major films released at year’s end.

Look for the e-book of my updated biography Streisand: Her Life later this year!

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