The movie musical trend is here to stay, at least for a while longer. Disney is currently in the process of casting a movie version of Steven Sondheim’s Into the Woods. This popular musical combines the stories of several fairy tale characters including Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack the Giant Slayer, and Little Red Riding Hood.
Two roles appear to be set already: Meryl Streep as the Witch and Johnny Depp as the Wolf. The rest are rumored/“in talks” and include Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife, James Corden as the Baker, Christine Baranski as the evil stepmother, and most excitingly (for me) Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince.
The two princes are great comedic roles you can see from their song, “Agony:”
I cannot judge any of the casting until I’ve seen the movie, so my only real concern thus far is that Disney is helming the project. Often drawing on the original tales by the Brothers Grimm, Into the Woods is much darker than the Disney version of these stories. For example, in the show, as in the original story, Cinderella’s stepsisters literally cut off pieces of their feet in their attempts to fit into the glass slipper. This gruesome detail was absolutely left out of the Disney film.
It’s not that I want these details for their gross factor; I appreciate the larger theme behind them. By ending Act 1 of the show with the traditional “happily ever after,” Sondheim gives the audience the entire second act to explore just how false that concept can be. In the musical, as in life, there is no simple “happily ever after.” It’s more complicated, often sadder or more horrifying, than that. People make mistakes. Good does not always win. Right and wrong are not always evident. Hopefully Disney won’t attempt to erase that message.