It has the potential to be one of the biggest movies of the holiday season, a musical adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony Award-winning show that brings together an A-list ensemble (and prepares for a possible Oscar run). But while we have been reporting on the snippets of information tied to Into the Woods, we really haven’t seen much from its mega-watt stars – and the fairy tale characters that they plan to play on screen. At least, until now.
Entertainment Weekly has gone with a series of Into the Woods character poses for the cover of this week’s issue, a Holiday Movie Preview that dedicates a chunk of space to director Rob Marshall’s upcoming holiday musical. Which is understandable. Even those who know nothing about the source material (raising my hand) recognize the sheer magnitude of the cast, which includes: Johnny Depp; Meryl Streep; Emily Blunt; Chris Pine; Anna Kendrick; Lucy Punch; James Corden; and a slew of young talents lending their pipes to Sondheim’s songs.
Into the Woods premiered back in 1986, and uses classic fairy tale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Jack (the dude with the beanstalk) but puts a different spin on the Grimm stories of our childhoods. There is a focus – in the film – on the childless characters of the Baker (James Corden) and the Baker’s Wife (Emily Blunt), who venture into the woods to collect charmed items to break a witch’s spell. According to the synopsis:
What begins as a lively irreverent fantasy musical eventually becomes a meaningful tale about responsibility, the problems that come from wishes, and the legacy that we leave our children."
Can Rob Marshall conjure Oscar magic with this interpretation of the Stephen Sondheim musical? The director had a lot of success with the Academy when he sunk his teeth into the Razzle Dazzle of Chicago. Since then, though, his golden touch has faltered with the likes of Memoirs of a Geisha, Nine (also a musical), and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides. His career track started with passion projects. The fourth Pirates seemed like more of a hired-gun scenario, but it at least put him in touch with Johnny Depp – luring him Into the Woods.
Into the Woods opens in theaters on Christmas Day, but Marshall warns potential audiences, "I didn’t want this to look like a cartoon world. It’s not sunny, sunny, sunny—we wanted a sense of danger." To get a better sense of the characters in this dark and dangerous world, click over to Page 2 and scan the celebrity-filled alternate covers for the upcoming movie.