Stephen Sondheim, is one of the greats of Broadway, having written musical hits that have played the world over. His musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street hit the big screen back in 2007 with Tim Burton at the helm and Johnny Depp starring as the man who slit the throats of unsuspecting patrons.
Much like most of Sondheim's work the magic is in the music and the comedy, comedy that appeared to be lost and mangled in the hands of Tim Burton and his cast who could hold a note but they just didn't have the power or the ability to project the characters they had been given.
Now in 2013, another Sondheim classic is getting the film treatment from Walt Disney and whilst I'm excited there are certain announcements with regards to this film that are making me somewhat concerned for the finished product.
First up was the announcement that Rob Marshall was set to direct. Whilst Rob has done fantastic work with the likes of Chicago and Memoirs of the Geisha; he also has that massacre of a movie musical that was Nine. Whilst the musical numbers were a spectacle to behold the rest of the film was drab and felt disconnected from the numbers presented.
Into the Woods tells the story of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Baker's Wife, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel but not as you know them. When a witch casts a spell on the baker's wife both the baker and his wife are tasked with obtaining a number of magical ingredients for a spell in which to reverse the curse the witch has placed upon them. Traversing through the fairytale land the baker and his wife stumble upon the likes of Cinderella and Little Red Riding hood, all of who have no idea that they have something these two want.
The stories in Into The Woods all blend and merge reaching their climax at the end of the first act when Happily Ever After might not even be attainable by those who thought they had it. I wonder if Rob can create a magical world for fans to fall in love with whilst walking the line of drama and musical. These characters sing and sing and sing, I hope we don't see the format that made NINE so damn disappointing.
Joanna Gleason & Chip Zien "It Takes Two"
Although; are the same mistakes being made when it comes to casting, are we headed for another Sweeney Todd? So far Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and James Corden have been confirmed as cast members. Streep will play the very important role of The Witch, Depp will play the randy Wolf and Corden will play the Baker.
Whilst I cheer for Streep, I'm not sure I could take Corden in the role of the Baker throughout the running time of the film. The Baker is pivotal in keeping thing moving and I don't think Corden has the chops to do that. Plus Corden seems to irritate 90% of the people I bump into. Depp, will probably mince around like Captain Jack and howl at the moon, I love the man but he needs to do something else!
Now the next name to be linked with the project is Emily Blunt as the Baker's Wife, this glimmer of sunshine; of hope comes along just in time to re-ignite my interest in the project. She was the comedic force in The Devil Wears Prada and she was the dramatic force in Looper, she's brilliant but has anyone heard her sing yet? The song above is one she'd have to tackle in the film along with a number of others. I think she's up to the task but the casting news for this film needs to be more like Streep and Blunt, less Depp and Corden, if Disney want to cash in on the success left behind by Universal's Les Miserables!
Although the casting news doesn't stop there; could Into The Woods find a Prince in Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal.