Disney Wants Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep for ‘Into the Woods’ Musical Adaptation

Published 2 years ago by

johnny depp into woods Disney Wants Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods Musical Adaptation

Disney signed director Rob Marshall to a two-year contract early last year, so as to lock him down to oversee the Mouse House’s Into the Woods Broadway musical adaptation; now, it seems Marshall may reunite with his leading man from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Johnny Depp, on his new venture.

Depp isn’t the only famous name in negotiations to become a cast member in the Into the Woods movie; Disney is also courting Meryl Streep for an important role. If deals are struck for both thespians, then this project will be the first to have the poster children for eccentric character actors (Depp) and Academy favorites (Streep), sharing the screen together.

Variety, which has the exclusive, is reporting that Depp has begun circling Into the Woods, but does not specify what role he is being considered for. Most likely, he is being eyed to play the Baker who, along with his wife, takes a dangerous journey into a dark and mysterious forest, so as to fulfill a task set upon them by the witch who cursed the pair to remain childless; Streep is in talks for the witch role.

Into the Woods stands to become the second cinematic musical – adapted from a work by the composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim – to feature Depp, after Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The man behind Edward Scissorhands and Jack Sparrow has not lost his strong dramatic chops, nor his rock musician’s vocal capabilities; truth be told, though, he’s simply not a Broadway-style singer, as was illustrated by his Sweeney Todd performance.

meryl streep into woods Disney Wants Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods Musical Adaptation

Meryl Streep in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’

However, Sondheim is on record as preferring the “Good actor first, singer second” approach to casting musical film adaptations (see: Les Misérables), despite the difference in opinion when it concerns many other members of the musical theater community (side note: I agree with Sondheim, personally). Hence, people like Depp and Streep – who proved her own singing mettle in Mamma Mia! – are being pursued, as the first choices to headline Into the Woods.

Of course, that would probably be the case regardless, as Les Miz has, apparently, re-invigorated studios’ belief in the box office potential of musical adaptations with star power on either side of the camera (see: a Will Smith-produced Annie, which is arriving in 2014). Nonetheless, there’s something interesting about Depp being pursued to portray a fairly normal character for a change of pace, while Streep gets to be more theatrical with her performance.

As for the scheduling: Depp is working on cinematographer Wall Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence right now, and will thereafter jump right into director Barry Levinson’s Black Mass this summer. If things work out, the actor could reunite with Marshall by early 2014 to shoot Into the Woods, before he reprises (again) as Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean 5 sometime later next year. As for Depp and Marshall’s planned Thin Man remake, well, that’s on hold until further notice.


We’ll keep you posted on pre-production for Into the Woods as more information becomes available.

Source: Variety

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  1. So Pirates of the Caribbea 5 will be filming in the second half of 2014 ?

    • I’d imagine probably closer to late spring/early summer 2014 start date for POTC 5, to give it at least a year before it’s scheduled to open in theaters.

      We’ll just have to wait and see just when Into the Woods actually begins filming, if it’s going to fit Johnny’s schedule.

      • @Sandy Schaefer
        So you mean like a May or June start date for Pirates 5?

        • Yeah, that’s what I would expect, assuming Depp signs on to do Into the Woods first (since Disney is backing the both of them).

          • Did you mean May 2014 as when they might start filming or did you mean June 2014 as when they might start filming?

  2. Depp is completely, totally, absolutely wrong for EVERY single role in “Into the Woods”.

    There is not one role in that musical that he could do.

    As for Streep,the only role that’s anywhere near suitable, would be the Witch, and there’s simply NO way she can pull off that role. This isn’t ABBA we’re talking about, it’s some pretty serious music, and damned hard to sing.

    “Into the Woods” will be disaster just like “Sweeney Todd” was.

    • Funny…I found “Sweeney Todd” quite entertaining (and infinitely better than most of the crap horror/disturbing movies released in the last couple of decades). “Into the Woods” is a wonderful story and great musical that SHOULD be filmed. Personally, I think both Depp and Streep have more than enough talent to perform well in the film.

      …but to each, his own.

      • Yeah I loved Sweeney Todd, as did most critics.. Its in the high eighties on RT if I’m not mistaken. Depp got nominated for an oscar for his performance too. He was the perfect choice for the title role.

        I agree w/Archaeon, I would love to see Depp tackle another musical! I hope he’s the narrator haha that would be funny..

      • Depp could barely carry any of the tunes he had to sing in Sweeney Todd.
        His rhythm was off throughout the entire thing.
        The same went for Helena Bonham Carter, but thank god Tim Burton isn’t in talks to direct Into the Woods or he’d cut all of the chorus sections from that too.

        Meryl Streep did great with ABA tunes in mama Mia, but that’s a far cry from singing any of the roles in Into the Woods.

        There are INCREDIBLE actors who can SING. Who the hell do they think does these roles on Broadway? Does anyone really believe that Depp or Streep are a better choice than triple threat Broadway actors who CAN sing, who CAN act and who CAN dance?

        They’re going to massacre Into the Woods, in the same way that they made a mockery of Sweeney Todd.

        Sweeney Todd is a musical masterpiece, one of the great lyric works of the 20th century, comparable to other masterpieces like Lulu, Wozzeck, Turandot, The Devils of Loudon, etc… They crapped all over it.

        Into the Woods is going to have to suffer from MAJOR changes to be adaptable to film. It has two acts, which mirror each other structurally. That isn’t the best structure for a film. It has numerous symbolic repetitions, symbolic casting choices (wolf/prince), etc…

        And worst of all it is built on a contrast of naiveté and profound depth, that I know they won’t be able to render on film.

        They’ll either go all silly, or all “gritty”. Neither of which matches the fundamental message of Into the Woods.

        Don’t get me completely wrong: I actually really do love Johnny Depp. And adore Meryl Streep.

        They’re simply completely wrong for Into the Woods. There are SO many others who would be far better choices.

        Into the Woods is a masterpiece and doesn’t NEED “big name stars” to attract an audience.

        • Mikey…

          Fair enough. I disagree with your assessment but can understand why you make it.

  3. I love his rocker performance in Sweeney Todd. He was nominated for an Oscar for that role. So great news to me, mostly because i can’t wait to see those two living legends, Meryl and Johnny, working together

  4. Why is disney considering Johnny Depp in every single one of their live action films? (not counting Marvel or Dreamworks films) Not every one of his films makes a billion dollars at the box office. In fact, I would be surprised if Lone Ranger could even match its budet worldwide.

  5. Depp = overrated. There. I said it.

    • I would say over exposed and repetitive, but he has plenty of talent.

  6. I think Deep is a good actor, and I LOVE Meryl Streep, but they’re both wrong for Into the Woods.

    Deep just doesn’t have the vocals for the Baker, and he’s too flashy of an actor to play it straight. Hopefully they end up casting him as the Wold instead.

    As for Streep, I love her, she’s a great actress, but she SUCKS as a singer.

    Why can’t they just get Bernaddette Peters? Obviously no one will top here, so why not hire the best to play her?

    And Rob Marshall should stay away from this movie. He’s a horrible director and I do not want him near this movie.

  7. Sweeney Todd was the only example of “acting before singing” that I liked. I thought the singing in it was *just* good enough to not wreck it. (See Across the Universe for a great musical idea that was ruined by poor singing.)

    I loves me some Sondheim, but I vehemently disagree with the idea that it’s OK to cast inferior vocalists in a classic musical.

  8. Oh no! Meryl butchering another musical? ! Dear God no! Her acting is surperb…but Into The Woods needs not just mediocre voicee, it needs great voices! It is Soundheim for God’s! Hollywood has never understood Broadway…never. Just like it never understands good voices. How can it when it can be done over and over in take after take? Besides, how will they explain how the witch is supposed to be beautiful after her transformation with Meryl? No way! THEY NEED KristiN CHENOWETH FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS!

  9. Because Disney is out of touch and stupid! John Carter anyone? No one wants another musical in which Ms Streep cannot sing…ratber, cannot carry. This one requires trained voices, not studio tracks. You need Kristin Chenoweth. ..especially since the Witch is supposed to be beautiful when she is transformed. Rob Marshall had better use his creative abilities and get Kristin ASAP or this this will be a travesty, a flop….and it could be something great. If it is Hollywood-ized, it – will- fail. Plain and simple. Shame too. This story has so many good things to say.