Though Julian Fellowes has attracted attention recently for creating and overseeing pop-culture juggernaut Downton Abbey, he's still a much sought-after screenwriter, what with an Oscar on his mantlepiece and a proven ability to work in several genres. Barbra Streisand and Joel Silver see him as the man to help bring a new version of Gypsy to cinemas for Universal.
Streisand is also planning to co-star in the eventual movie, taking the role of pushy mother Momma Rose, who dominates the life of real-life burlesque legend Gypsy Rose Lee. Created by Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, the show first strutted on stage back in 1959, going on to score Tony nominations for everyone involved. It then won several more when it returned to Broadway in both 1975 and 1990.
The idea of adapting Gypsy is not a new one. Indeed, the story has hit screens both big and small before, most famously in 1962 with Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood in the lead roles. The Weinsteins were interested in the idea back in 2006 and it had been rumoured that Warners was looking to collaborate with the producers, but Universal has stepped in to take on the task.
While Streisand has plenty of experience with musicals both on stage and screen and Fellowes has the stage adaptation of Mary Poppins on his CV, the odd name out here seems to been Joel Silver, who is making his first foray into the genre. Can Lethal Weapon: The Musical be far behind?