The London Telegraph reports that actresses Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand and Glenn Close are currently the frontrunners for the lead role of deluded silent screen star Norma Desmond in the motion picture. The musical, which was based on the classic Billy Wilder film, features a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. Hampton told the U.K. paper, "Meryl Streep is on our list. It was during the last round of discussions when her name came up. Glenn Close is also on the list, as is Streisand."
In addition to the creators of the musical, Paramount Studios will also have a say in casting. Paramount owns the rights to the original black-and-white film, which cast Gloria Swanson as Desmond.
All three women have ties to the musical: Close played the role in Los Angeles and on Broadway; Streisand was the first to record the show's anthems "With One Look" and "As If We Never Said Goodbye"; and Streep was among the small audience at Lloyd Webber's Sydmonton estate, where the workshop of Sunset Boulevard — starring Patti LuPone — was originally presented.
The 1950 film "Sunset Blvd.," directed by Wilder, concerned an out of-work screenwriter named Joe Gillis who happens upon the home of former silent-screen star Norma Desmond. William Holden and Gloria Swanson starred in the film, which won three Academy Awards. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version debuted in London with Patti LuPone as Norma. Glenn Close opened the Los Angeles and Broadway productions; other Normas included Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, Diahann Carroll, Petula Clark, Helen Schneider, Linda Balgord and Debra Byrne.