Seeing how Pirates of the Caribbean 5 isn’t moving forward all that quickly right now, it’s not among the choices that onetime dance choreographer-turned-filmmaker Rob Marshall (who helmed the fourth Pirates flick) is considering as his next directorial effort.

Marshall instead has plans to begin production on one of two titles before 2012 is over: The Thin Man, which would reunite him with actor Johnny Depp and see Marshall tackle another Prohibition-era story (a la Chicago) – or Into the Woods, which would see the director working in the musical genre for a third time, after both Chicago and Nine.

THR has the scoop on Marshall both signing a two-year deal with Walt Disney Pictures and becoming involved with Into the Woods, which is already being scripted by the the Tony Award-winning 1986 stage musical’s co-writer, James Lapine. The show’s composer/lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, is also expected to pen some new songs for the film adaptation, according to Marshall.

Billy Ray (who took over screenwriting duties from David Koepp) is close to finishing up an early draft of the script for The Thin Man, so that project could end up moving ahead before Marshall helms Into the Woods. All the same, it sounds like the Sondheim/Lapine musical adaptation is sort of a personal passion project for Marshall; hence, it will be interesting to see which one he ends up giving priority to. Our money’s on Thin Man, due to Depp’s involvement, but still…

Moving on – here is a description of the original Into the Woods stage show (via Masterworks Broadway):

 A work of whimsy and intellectual legerdemain, the show dealt with some familiar characters – the Baker and his wife, Cinderella and her Prince, Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel and her Prince, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, who all found themselves threatened when the wife of the Giant came down that fabled beanstalk to seek revenge for the death of her husband.

The original Broadway cast of ‘Into the Woods’

By the time Into the Woods actually hits theaters, moviegoers will have already seen more than their fair share of similar fairy tale-based films (ex. Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Killer, etc.). However, the Sondheim/Lapine fairy tale mashup musical is not only a much-beloved piece of musical theater, but one that should truly stand out as “unique.” Case in point: what other fairy tale movie coming out will feature rapping witches, blood-thirsty little girls, and start out as a Princess Bride-style comedy that eventually turns into the sort of dark parable that the Brothers Grimm would’ve highly approved of?

On a different note: Marshall started his directing career with a bang via the Oscar-winning Chicago, but his next musical effort, Nine, didn’t go over quite so well with either critics or casual cinephiles. To be fair, the source material for the latter isn’t considered to be all that strong and the film’s technical qualities still earned a few Academy Award nods. Hopefully, now that he’s working with a decorated piece like Into the Woods, Marshall will get back on his directing A-game and deliver a knockout new cinematic song/dance show.

We will keep you updated on the status of Into the Woods as the story develops.

Source: THR