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The hills are alive with the sound of fairy tale musicals, as Rob Marshall’s adaptation of James Lapine’s Tony Award-winning stage production Into the Woods went into production last week in different areas of England. This is one of the more high-profile releases to come in 2014, as the Oscar-nominated Marshall is once again lined up with a prestigious project populated by some of the biggest names in the business, hopefully turning Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides into a very distant memory. Disney released a full listing of the all-star cast via press release, and there are even more familiar faces than we expected.
Into the Woods is centered on a baker, played by Can a Song Save Your Life’s James Corden, who desperately wants to start a family with his wife, played by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada). Meryl Streep will play the Witch who casts a spell on the couple in order to reverse a curse to restore her former beauty. Simon Russell Beale (The Deep Blue Sea) will play the Baker’s father. This central story is supplemented with a host of appearances by some of the Brothers Grimm’s most famous characters.
Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) will play Cinderella, on a journey of self-discovery, and Star Trek’s Chris Pine will play her handsome and charming Prince, while Richard Glover (Sightseers) will star as his steward. Christine Baranski (Mamma Mia) will play the Stepmother who wishes for a prince to wed her awful and spoiled daughters, played by Tammy Blanchard (Blue Jasmine) and Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher). Cinderella’s late mother will be played by stage actress Joanna Riding.
Annie’s Lilla Crawford makes her feature debut as the precocious Little Red Riding Hood, which officially debunks the recent rumor that Ellen fixture-- and complete acting newbie-- Sophia Grace would take the part (fans of the musical are sighing with relief all over the place). Johnny Depp will lend his talents as what will probably be the most idiosyncratic Big Bad Wolf ever, on the hunt for Red Riding Hood. Red’s infamous Granny will be played by Annette Crosbie (Calendar Girls).
Daniel Huttlestone (Les Misérables) will star as Jack, the addle-brained boy who trades his family’s cows for five beanstalk-producing beans. His overly protective mother will be played by veteran comic actress Tracey Ullman (Tracey Takes On), and the giant in the sky will be played by Frances de la Tour (Hugo).
The sheltered and tower-bound Rapunzel is to be played by MacKenzie Mauzy (Brother’s Keeper), and Billy Magnussen (Boardwalk Empire) will play the dashing Prince who finds and saves Rapunzel and her hair.
That’s quite an assortment of performers, many of whom are seasoned on both the stage and screen. They’ll be taking on the masterful Steven Sondheim’s original music from the original play, as well as a song created specifically for the film by Sondheim.
You’ll have to wait a while to catch it in theaters, as it isn’t to be released until December 25, 2014, but you can find the 1991 performance, starring Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason on DVD.