Sondheim’s Into the Woods to Become a Disney Flick

Geek Culture

Into the Woods cast album coverInto the Woods cast album cover

Image: Amazon

The Walt Disney Studios has announced that Rob Marshall, director of the latest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, will be directing a film version of the Sondheim musical Into the Woods. As the press release describes it:

Into the Woods weaves together the story of several of the most beloved fairytales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel) into the original story of a Baker and his wife who try to reverse a curse on their family in order to have a child, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests and their desire for “happily ever after.” With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book and direction by James Lapine, “Into the Woods” earned 10 nominations at the 1988 Tony Awards, winning three including best score and best book of a musical. The 2002 Broadway revival won a Tony for best revival of a musical.

Even though the show is based on children’s fairytales, it is not really aimed at kids. By Act II the storylines start to get mixed up and everything takes a turn for the worst.

On the other hand, I never thought kids would go for Tim Burton’s adaptation of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, about a mass murderer and his girlfriend who turns the bodies into meat pies, but my sons loved it. (In fact, it inspired my then 11-year-old to create a Lego MOC of the barbershop scene, complete with trap door and pie shop, using a white minifig cape colored with red marker for a barber’s apron.) There’s also a popular student version that makes the show kid-friendly by leaving out the entire second act.

And Marshall directed the excellent 2002 movie version of the musical Chicago, as well as the 1998 stage revival of Cabaret, so he’s experienced in the genre. Some news sources are reporting that Sondheim will be writing new songs for the film.

So I’ll be reserving judgment until I see how this project develops. A Sondheim production is always worthwhile, and Marshall seems equal to the task.

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