Tag Archives: Disney’s Into The Woods

Disney’s Into the Woods is a dark adventure that you’ll be singing along too!

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If you didnt know Disney’s Into The Woods is a musical… something that the first few trailers didnt really show you that clearly.  I was a little surprised when I saw the first few scenes… but once you get over that (or better yet go into the movie knowing that) then you’re in for a real treat.  I think this movie will become this generations Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The singing some of the best you’ve seen in musicals.  The writing is witty and really gets you into the 4 main storylines.  I would highly recommend this for children 10 and up do to the dark subject matter.

Once upon a time in a far off Kingdom when the Baker (Tony Award® winner James Corden) was just a child, his Father (BAFTA Award winner Simon Russell Beale) was caught stealing magic beans from the vegetable garden of the Witch (three time Oscar® winner Meryl Streep) next door. As punishment for losing the precious beans, the Witch was placed under a curse which made her hideous in appearance. The Witch, in turn, cast an evil spell on the Baker’s household, cruelly insuring that the Baker and his Wife would forever be incapable of having a child.

Years later, when the Baker and his Wife (Golden Globe® winner Emily Blunt) learn of the curse, they venture into the Woods to seek out the ingredients which will both reverse the spell and restore the Witch’s beauty. By the time the blue moon rises in three days’ time, something which only occurs once every 100 years, they must return with four items: a cow as white as milk, hair as yellow as corn, a cape as red as blood and a slipper as pure as gold.

On their journey into the Woods, they encounter: Cinderella (Oscar® and Tony® nominee Anna Kendrick) fleeing the Palace in a pair of gold slippers; Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) on her way to Granny’s house while being pursued by the Wolf (three time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp); the fair maiden Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), held captive by the Witch in a tower with no doors; and young Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) 3 en route to the market to sell his cherished cow, Milky-White, to appease his exasperated Mother (seven time Emmy® winner Tracey Ullman). Each one on their own quest to fulfill a wish.

The third midnight approaches, and the Baker and his Wife, having produced the required ingredients through a combination of theft , bribery and deceit, deliver them to the Witch. Soon the Witch’s curse is lifted, rendering her beautiful once more. The Baker and his Wife magically give birth to the child they so longed for. Cinderella breaks free from her evil Stepmother (Emmy® and two-time Tony Award® winner Christine Baranski) and stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda (Emmy winner Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch) and marries her Prince (Critics’ Choice Award nominee Chris Pine). Rapunzel is freed from exile by her Prince (Tony nominee Billy Magnussen), and the giant beanstalk which sprouted from the magic beans Jack received in exchanged for his cow, has led to riches beyond his Mother’s wildest dreams.

However, just at the moment of happily ever after, a terrifying, vengeful Lady Giant (Tony® and Olivier Award winner Frances De La Tour) climbs down from the beanstalk, wreaking destruction on the Kingdom, the village and the enchanting forest. Forced to face the consequences of their desires, the group of characters who have befriended one another in the Woods, must come together and take responsibility for their actions before they can defeat the Giant. Only then, will they discover the signifi cance of each of their individual
journeys.

Directed by Oscar® nominee and DGA Award winner Rob Marshall and produced by Emmy® winner and Golden Globe® nominee John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a., Marc Platt , p.g.a. and Callum McDougall, “Into the Woods” brings the Tony Award®-winning musical classic and such memorable songs as “Children Will Listen,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One is Alone” and “Agony,” to life on the big screen. The fi lm is based on the musical stage production by eight-time Tony, GRAMMY® and Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Tony winner James Lapine, who also wrote the screenplay.

The film’s outstanding team of creative talents includes: Academy Award® winner Dion Beebe, ACS, ASC as director of photography; Oscar® winner Dennis Gassner as production designer; three-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood as costume designer; Emmy® nominee Wyatt Smith as editor; Oscar winner Peter Swords King as makeup and hair designer; Emmy winner Mike Higham as music producer; Tony® and Emmy winner Paul Gemignani and Mike Higham as music supervisors; and Emmy winner Matt Johnson as visual effects supervisor.

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INTO THE WOODS is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th!

Into The Woods celebrity interviews

ITW_1-Sht_v18_LgRecently I was invited to the Disney’s Into the Woods movie junket. The Junket was host to two panels – the first had James Corden (“The Baker”), Emily Blunt (“The Baker’s Wife”), Anna Kendrick (“Cinderella”), Chris Pine (“Cinderella’s Prince”), Director Rob Marshall, and Screenwriter James Lapine. The second panel featured Meryl Streep (“The Witch”), Christine Baranski (“Cinderella’s Stepmother”), Tracey Ullman (“Jack’s Mother”), Producer Marc Platt, and Producer John Deluca.

Anna Kendrick (star of Pitch Perfect) is certainly not playing your stereotypical Cinderella. She spoke about “how Director Rob Marshall was very interested in having a modern sensibility for these characters.”  She compared  her character to the notion that women don’t listen to their gut and “have to look at everything from every angle.”  Noting that Cinderella  allows herself to get into a better situation with the Prince but then realizes it’s completely fake and “the Prince is so vacuous.” SAMSUNG CSC

Cinderella’s Prince played the Chris Pine (star of Star Trek),  the Prince says during a key  scene “I was raised to be charming, not sincere” of which Pine spoke about that one line informed his character.  The Prince is given the opportunity to reflect on his effect on Cinderella but only for a moment and then chooses to get back on his horse and ride off.

James Lapine spoke about weaving a new fairy tale into the existing ones: “I sort of hit on this idea of combining writing one original fairytale, The Baker and the Wife, and then weaving them together with existing fairytales, and so that’s how it all kind of went from there.”

SAMSUNG CSCJames Corden, who played the Baker, shared that Meryl Streep took the lead at making him and the others feel comfortable.He said her attitude was, if an individual does well, the film does well. She seems like an an amazing person, not just an amazing actress. As the biggest “name” in the movie, it is nice to know that she wants to be a worker among workers, and not a diva: “she’s the reason actually, it’s the truth, she’s the thing that puts you at ease, because she leads from the front and she knows how you feel when she walks in the room, and she does everything she can to put you at ease and make you feel like we are all a company of actors who will get the best out of this experience if we support each other. And I think it shines through in the film that this is a company of people where no one is trying to steal the limelight or the movie from anyone else. It’s a group of actors, friends really, all going, “No, no, go and be brilliant. Go and be amazing.” And that really comes from Rob and it trickles down through Meryl right to the bottom, and just below that, you’ll find me.”

SAMSUNG CSCEmily Blunt was concerned about the singing, but Rob Marshall reassured her that he wanted actors who could sing, for the movie, not singers who could act.  The experience of singing (after a few lessons to bolster her confidence) was “exhilarating and impassioned” and “joyful.”  Singing with the cast and a 65-piece orchestra for Steven Sondheim was a day she “will never, ever forget. Ever.”

Meryl Streep probably is the actress every actor and actress wants to be and when she decides she is going to sing well imagine the pressure. She was the first to come on board after years of turning down similar roles to take on the role of  “The Witch” who longs for beauty and companionship.  The one thing I was surprised by this  New Jersey native at the press conference was her self-deprecating humor. I loved that she joked about rapping in the movie, “I haven’t really done my real rap scene yet”, wondering if Stephen Sondheim was aware it was even rap when he wrote that scene.SAMSUNG CSC

Christine Baranski spoke about how she had tried to convey a contemporary attitude, which would resonate with today’s viewers.  She, Lucy Punch and Tammy Blanchard presented Cinderella’s stepfamily as social-climbing narcissists, obsessed with fashion and fame (personal fame, not necessarily the fame of others).  Baranski not naming any names but pointed to reality shows that came to mind.

Tracey Ullman was asked about her pop singer status and responded graciously, calling herself a one-hit wonder, then singing a bit of “They Don’t Know About Us.”  Streep and Baranski were quick to mention other Broadway musicals she’s appeared in, clarifying for those who didn’t know, that Ullman is a talented singer and actor with a long history in music and theater.

Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep and Tracey Ullman are long-time friends and have a sisterly affection for each other. The easiness and banter amongst them during the interview was what made it amazing and I’m happy to share two clips with you below.   They were obviously having a good time joking with each other.

Watch the trailer:

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INTO THE WOODS is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th!