‘Into the Woods’ Trailer: Fairy Tales Collide in Disney’s Musical

Published 9 months ago by , Updated August 1st, 2014 at 9:47 am,

Walt Disney Pictures has got a new musical on the horizon, but Into the Woods isn’t your average fairy tale offering from the Mouse House. This one is directed by Rob Marshall, the helmsman on the Oscar-winning film musical Chicago; here, he is once again bringing an acclaimed Broadway stage musical to cinematic life. A recently-unveiled image gallery for the movie highlighted the A-list cast members and their lovely costuming, but the new teaser instead shines the spotlight on the fantasy world that Marshall helped to create onscreen.

So far, Into the Woods looks pretty good, in terms of its aesthetics. Marshall previously directed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for Disney, but already his fairy tale musical seems to be an improvement in the visual department. On Stranger Tides tends to suffer from clunky lighting that calls attention to the artifice of the film’s scenery (probably because Marshall had not shot a movie in 3D before), whereas the Into the Woods footage shown here blends practical and digital material more seamlessly.

In terms of story, Into the Woods starts off harmlessly enough; the central plot thread has a Baker (James Corden) attempting to reverse a witch’s curse that has left him and his wife (Emily Blunt) childless – with a bug-eyed Meryl Streep playing the sorceress in question. Elsewhere, the classic stories of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) and Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) – among several other fairy tale characters – play out just as you remember them, only this time we also get to see the consequences of their actions. This is where Into the Woods starts to become more genuinely “dark.”

… And by “dark,” we mean this musical very much starts to feel like the handiwork of lyricist/song writer Stephen Sonheim. (Remember, he’s the same guy who gave us the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, among other famous shows that don’t end so happily ever after.)


into the woods poster 620x370 Into the Woods Trailer: Fairy Tales Collide in Disneys Musical

Question is, how much will Into the Woods change during the jump to the big screen? Well, being released under the Disney logo means the musical will surely be somewhat more sanitized in movie form; at the same time, the script was still written by James Lapine, who also penned the original Broadway show’s musical book. As such, any changes that do take place will ultimately have been filtered through the mind of one of the show’s creators. Better him than someone else, hopefully.

Either way, Into the Woods has a lot going for it, in terms of both the collective talent onscreen – which yes, includes Johnny Depp (probably) wearing an elaborate costume – and the people working behind the scenes. Fingers crossed, they do justice by a show that’s long been adorned by (and performed by) musical theater enthusiasts around the world.

Into the Woods opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2014.

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Great trailer, I love the broadway musical so cant wait to see this movie, hope we get another Nutcracker movie soon.

  2. That was a really well done trailer. Was always a fan of Sondheim’s work. I just hope the concessions they made to get this made by Disney aren’t too disappointing.

  3. I’ve loved this show since I saw it in previews on Broadway. I even conducted the Canadian premiere of it. I am VERY scared of just how they will mangle the story to make it more appealingly “disney”.
    I am also scared of how they will mangle the music, trying to “improve” it or “update” it.

    I’m already not excited by some of the casting of hot actors with barely any voice (yeah, I got to hear all of their audition tapes).

    But, ever hopeful that finally SOMEone will get a Sondheim stage-to-screen conversion right, I will hold my breath and go into it with an open mind.

  4. Meryl streep….no thanks. she only takes 2 kind of roles…ham it up or oscar bait. Clearly this isn’t oscar bait.

    • I am cautiously excited… but where was Vanessa Williams, or for that matter, Bernadette Peters? Why does Hollyweird always go for the then current hot commodities, rather then go with a tried and true professional musical performer?

      Yeah, I know the answer.

    • The Witch’s role is actually far more complex and profound than simply “ham it up”. Properly done, it’s a role with a very nuanced range, and complex textures.

      That said, I agree that – while I normally love Meryl Streep – this is absolutely not a role for her, vocally.

      Come to think of it, nothing in Into the Woods is a role for any of the actors that have been chosen, least of all Johnny Depp. Many people are commenting that the Wolf role is short and not hard to sing. I’ll beg to differ. “Hello Little Girl” is actually QUITE difficult to sing PROPERLY. It’s highly chromatic, it’s very irregular. You can fake your way through it, but it won’t have the same effect as actually SINGING it the way it’s written.

  5. If it’s “Sondheim and Lapine’s” “Into The Woods” there is hope. If it is “Disney’s” “Into The Woods” then it’s doomed. “Sweeney Todd” was butchered and I fear “Into The Woods” will be also. At least both (Along with “Sunday In The Park With George”) are available on DVD so we will always have the original gems to retreat to. That is unless Disney pulls them. How many would love to see the 1964 or 1972 versions of “Once Upon A Mattress” with Carol Burnette but can’t because corporate interests keep them buried in favor of seeing and buying the vastly inferior Disney remake for TV.

  6. I saw this at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. The actors did a good job under the circumstances, but I found the actual story quite boring. Usually musicals are fun and upbeat; this was just one long slow monotonous song after another. I don’t think I will bother seeing the movie.