Disney's Into the Woods musical adaptation has, in recent weeks, shaken off the cobwebs - after more than a year with little to report since Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) signed on as the director - and begun to amass an impressive cast, which includes singing celebrities and award-winning Broadway actors, to boot.
The film - which is based on a Tony award-winning stage musical written by James Lapine and features music/lyrics by Stephen Sondheim - tells the story of a baker and his wife, cursed to be childless by a witch. While undertaking a quest to lift the spell on their family, those main characters encounter a variety of well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale players (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Jack of Beanstalk fame, etc.) whose own tales begin to intertwine with one another.
THR is reporting that Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal have met - and even sung for - Marshall about Into the Woods. The pair are expected to receive formal offers to portray Rapunzel's Prince and Cinderalla's Prince; who, in this cross-pollination of fairy tale worlds, are pompous and self-absorbed brothers. Both actors have played (and been type-casted as) cocky pretty boy characters in the past, so these Into the Woods roles very much lie in their wheelhouses.
Pine showed off his vocal chops by singing "Someday Came Today" in Small Town Saturday Night (watch the clip here), and he reprises his role as young James Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness beginning this week. Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal - who demonstrated his vocal talents on Saturday Night Live with a showy rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls (just ribbing him) - will return to theaters in Prisoners (opposite Hugh Jackman) later this year.
Tony award-winning Broadway alum and screen actor James Corden (Gavin & Stacy) is playing the Baker in Disney's Into the Woods, and it's only just been confirmed that Johnny Depp and Mery Streep have joined the cast as supporting players. The former - who plays Native American warrior Tonto in The Lone Ranger this summer - will show up as a dangerous and sexy version of the Big Bad Wolf, alongside three-time Oscar-winner Streep as the witch responsible for causing so much trouble.
Lapine is adapting his Into the Woods musical book into a script for the cinematic version - with Marshall's usual collaborator, David Krane, devising the music re-arrangements - ahead of filming getting underway this September in London. The recent slate of fairy tale-baed movies from Hollywood have been passable at best, devoid of life at worst; the same goes for Marshall's last couple films, in particular his teaming with Depp on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. However, given the source material and talent involved, both the fairy tale genre and Marshall's critical standing have a fair chance of gaining new vigor, in this case.
We'll keep you posted on casting and pre-production for Into the Woods, and let you know when Disney settles on an official theatrical release date.