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Mr. Arkadin

Into the Woods (2014)

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Via The Hollywood Reporter:
 

Into the Woods — which intertwines several classic fairytale characters, including Cinderella, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood, with the story of a baker and his wife’s attempt to have a family — returns the helmer and longtime choreographer to the musical genre at which he has excelled with movies including Oscar winner Chicago (2002) and Nine (2009).

He says he first started thinking of it a year ago, while in postproduction on Pirates. After calling Lapine, the two got together in producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s Santa Monica offices.

“We talked about the meaning of it and how timely it is still, and about family – that’s always at the core of our lives,” he says. “James said: ‘But I don’t want to put it in development for another 10 years.’ ” Marshall agreed, and then brought it to Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross and production president Sean Bailey. “They were classy, classy, classy and incredibly generous to us,” he adds,

Lapine is now at work on the script, which Marshall expects to feature new songs by Sondheim.

The project reunites him with the musical giant, for whom Marshall worked as a choreographer twice in the 1990s, with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Company. He first met Sondheim at Broadway director Hal Prince’s Christmas party in 1993, when Marshall was choreographing Prince’s stage version of The Kiss of the Spider Woman, his first Broadway outing as choreographer.

“He’s a genius when it comes to his score,” Marshall says of Sondheim, “but what’s so extraordinary is, he really understands all the elements of theater — the choreography, the book and the production design — and has an amazing sense of the whole.”

Marshall at one point had thought of directing Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, but that fell through because of “timing,” he says. Subsequently, it was made as a film by director Tim Burton, with Depp starring.

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I love this musical, but I wonder how much this will get watered down because the Disney monicker has been attached. The musical is quite sexually suggestive at times (in a beastiality nature, no less). Not the usual fuzzy animal material that Uncle Walt put out there in his day.

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I love this musical, but I wonder how much this will get watered down because the Disney monicker has been attached. The musical is quite sexually suggestive at times (in a beastiality nature, no less). Not the usual fuzzy animal material that Uncle Walt put out there in his day.

Yeah.

I gotta confess, INTO THE WOODS is far from my favorite Sondheim show, but it has all kinds of dark, provocative elements that I find fascinating and would hate to see watered down. If anything, I'd like to see them amplified, to see an INTO THE WOODS that's a little more Grimm and a little less Disney. One of the reasons that I prefer the Original London Cast recording to the Original Broadway Cast recording of this show is that it emphasizes the dissonance in the orchestration, and in doing so, it emphasizes the show's ambiguities.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Evan C   

Well, it looks like this is official. Provided Disney doesn't water down the darker aspects of the story, the film has the potential to be really good. I'd also feel more confident if someone other than Marshall were directing. He's more of a choreographer than a director, and Into the Woods is not a choreography heavy musical.

Edited by Evan C

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Evan C   

Every time I hear news about this film I cringe.

Am I the only one who thinks Streep is too old to play the witch? The witch wants the potion to regain her youth and beauty, and Streep is 63. If the youth aspect doesn't matter, why not offer the role to Bernadette Peters, who originated the role *25 years ago*? She's 65 now.

And I think the Baker is a too much of a tenor for Depp to handle. I could see him doing a great job with the Narrator/Mysterious Man and maybe one of the princes.

(I know the article doesn't say what role he would be doing, but I have a sinking feeling it would be the Baker.)

Edited by Evan C

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Every time I hear news about this film I cringe.

Get ready for this, which has been going around the internet since yesterday....   10 year old Sophia Grace Brownlee has been cast as Red Riding Hood....  that's right....   10.

 

Story here.

 

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Evan C   

I love this musical, but I wonder how much this will get watered down because the Disney monicker has been attached. The musical is quite sexually suggestive at times (in a beastiality nature, no less). Not the usual fuzzy animal material that Uncle Walt put out there in his day.

 

 

Get ready for this, which has been going around the internet since yesterday....   10 year old Sophia Grace Brownlee has been cast as Red Riding Hood....  that's right....   10.

 

 

Story here.

Well, Disney either decided to REALLY intensify the sexual awakening themes or excise them completely; "I Know Things Now" is going to make almost no sense sung by a 10 year old.  And no 10 year old can deliver the quick, sharp, comic lyrics of Little Red Riding Hood ("Into the woods to bring some bread to Granny who is sick in bed/Never can tell what lies ahead for all that I know she's already dead.")

 

The parallel of the uncontrolled appetites of the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince is strongly undermined by having two different actors play the roles.

 

Streep playing the Witch is a casting choice reminiscent of Norma Desmond wanting to play Salome.

 

And Daniel Huttlestone (whom I liked A LOT in Les Miserables) is way too young to play Jack.  The double meanings of "Giants in the Sky" will be destroyed, and the comic awkwardness of a young man still living as an insecure boy bossed around by his mother will be ruined as well.

 

There should be a restraining order to prevent Disney from touching anything of Sondheim's.

 

A lot of my friends were furious about the changes Burton made to Sweeney Todd.  (I thought Burton preserved the essence and themes of the story very well.) I wonder what those friends will say about this.

 

I'm done ranting.  (At least until the next bit of news about this.)

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GOOD NEWS

 

10 year old, Ellen show phenom, Sophia Grace Brownlee has been replaced by....

 

 

BAD NEWS

 

...12 year old....
 

 

UM...  GOOD NEWS??

 

...Broadway star Lilla Crawford, of Annie and Billy Elliot fame.

 

Story here.

 

Reading the comments, folks seemed to be pleased, with only two pointing out the age factor.  Makes me really scratch my head....
 

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Evan C   

...12 year old....

bang.gif

 

Admittedly, Crawford is an improvement, and she may have the vocal chops to pull off the songs, but she's STILL TOO YOUNG!

 

And why do all articles on Into the Woods casting always mention Rapunzel, Florinda, and The Stepmother?  Those characters have pretty small parts (or they should)...

 

 

Since Marshall and Disney seem so intent on making a family appropriate musical (which I would only call Into the Woods using a very liberal definition of family appropriate), why don't they get the rights to Matilda?  That's right up their alley, and Crawford could do the lead which would an age appropriate role.  And even though Miss Trunchbull is played by a man on stage, Streep has a low enough alto that I think she could pull it off pretty well.

Edited by Evan C

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Evan C   

Hm.  First teaser is out.  I have to say this doesn't look as bad as I expected. The selection of music cues is great, even if the orchestrations are a little too lush and heavy. Never mind; it's a fan made teaser, I should have read the notes on the video.

 

 

 

 

After Maleficent and The Lone Ranger, I'm no longer too worried Disney will try to eradicate the darker themes of Into the Woods a la The Little Mermaid; however, I am worried they're going to rewrite the witch into a misunderstood heroine, which would be just as bad in the opposite direction.

Edited by Evan C

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Evan C   

That's a fan-made teaser (as noted in the description).

Ah, thanks.

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Evan C   

Any hopes I had have been thoroughly dashed.  This is probably going to suck, badly.
 
http://io9.com/disneys-into-the-woods-cuts-the-best-song-from-the-whol-1592719646
 

Bad news, Into The Woods fans: one of the best songs from the entire musical has been scrapped because sex. Here's hoping you weren't excited about Emily Blunt and Chris Pine singing "Any Moment," because it's gone. Also Rapunzel doesn't die.

 

I don't think "Any Moment" is the best song in the show, but it's a crucial song to the plot and themes.

 

 

This plot summary is also less than comforting:

 

A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children's stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.

 

Yeah, that's totally what the musical's about (NOT).

Edited by Evan C

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Evan C   

I will take this opportunity to plug the pretty great original show, which it appears Disney is shitting all over.  I encourage anyone who has not seen Into the Woods to take the time to watch this production before the film comes out in December.

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Anodos   

I will take this opportunity to plug the pretty great original show, which it appears Disney is shitting all over.  I encourage anyone who has not seen Into the Woods to take the time to watch this production before the film comes out in December.

A big, BIG LIKE for this - it was one of the first Sondheim shows I saw, and that production brings out all the humour and emotion in equal balance. I do think the musical has a weaker second act (I know that's a cliche regarding Sondheim, but it's often true.) Still, it's a great experience, and I wish someone with real vision had been given the helm, rather than Rob Marshall. 

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I will take this opportunity to plug the pretty great original show, which it appears Disney is shitting all over.  I encourage anyone who has not seen Into the Woods to take the time to watch this production before the film comes out in December.

A big, BIG LIKE for this - it was one of the first Sondheim shows I saw, and that production brings out all the humour and emotion in equal balance. I do think the musical has a weaker second act (I know that's a cliche regarding Sondheim, but it's often true.) Still, it's a great experience, and I wish someone with real vision had been given the helm, rather than Rob Marshall. 

It's an excellent record of the show. If we're just talking about the audio recordings, I think the 1991 London cast recording is the best of the bunch. The orchestrations have never sounded better, and you get Imelda Staunton as the baker's wife (her "Moments in the Woods" is sublime).

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Tyler   

I should probably watch/listen to this again. Whenever I try to think of a song from it, I end up repeating, "Into the woods," to the Addams Family tune.

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Tyler   

The first trailer features everyone's favorite part of Into The Woods, talking. Seriously, there's literally no singing in the whole thing.

 

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