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FIRST LOOK: Meryl Streep as The Witch in Disney's 'Into the Woods' UPDATE

by Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
September 27, 2013 11:20 AM
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Meryl Streep as The Witch in "Into the Woods'

UPDATE: The first image has arrived from Rob Marshall's screen adaptation of Sondheim musical "Into the Woods." As first looks go, this is a great one: Meryl Streep as The Witch, with claws and all, who wishes to reverse a curse so that her beauty can be restored.

EARLIER: Rob Marshall's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece "Into the Woods" has headed into production. The film, which Disney has slated for December 25, 2014 release, includes an all-new song, written by Sondheim. Besides Streep (as the Witch), the cast includes Johnny Depp (as the Wolf), Anna Kendrick (as Cinderella), Emily Blunt (in the lead female role of the Baker's Wife), Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal (as princes) and James Corden (as the Baker).

Emily Blunt

In this fairytale, the evil witch (Streep) casts a spell on an unfortunate baker (Corden) and his wife (Blunt); they want a child, so they venture into the woods to try and negotiate with the witch. 

The only danger here is for Marshall's film version is that he's a big-spender; the period movie looks expensive. David Krane (“Chicago,” “Nine”) is writing original music for the film, while James Lapine has adapted his book for the musical. Marshall’s producer for “Chicago” and “Nine” will do the producing honors.

Count me as a diehard musicals fan, and that includes Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd," starring Depp as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. More recently, "Les Miserables" proved that even a sincere movie musical with its heart on it sleeve can score at the global box office.

Johnny Depp

There's a raft of Broadway to movie musicals in the works. And I love the would-be casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who danced on the ceiling on Saturday Night Live) and "Step Up" dancer Channing Tatum for Fox's update of "Guys and Dolls." Even though that gangster musical is looking long-in-the-tooth and the Marlon Brando/Frank Sinatra screen version was not very good, that's a screen pairing I would love to see.

As a parent who took a gaggle of Immaculate Heart high school girls to see the show when it played L.A.'s Ahmanson Theater (they loved it), I can testify to "Into the Woods"' accessible commerciality: it's so packed with familiar fairy tale creatures--Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), Little Red Riding Hood, among others --that I'm surprised Jeffrey Katzenberg hasn't already scooped up the rights. 



  • Kayla | September 27, 2013 12:59 PMReply

    OH MY GOD. Why am I just now hearing about this?! I don't think I've ever been more excited for anything in my life. I'm a HUGE Sondheim fan, a HUGE fan of the film adaptation of Sweeney Todd, and they FREAKING BRING MERYL STREEP INTO THE PICTURE!!!! December 2014 is waaaay too far away!!

  • Me | September 16, 2013 1:36 PMReply

    AHH! I love into the woods in my favorite play ever!
    Ive seen the original broadway (with Bernadette peters) as
    The witch, on Netflix about four or five times! I can't wait
    To see this! I'm so excited about the cast! Except on imdb
    It says some little girl is gonna play red.... Wow.... I hope it's
    Is just a rumor... Anyway, can't wait!

  • Jamie | April 26, 2013 11:46 PMReply

    While I don't doubt the talent of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the casting in Guys and Dolls would be horrendous. Channing has all the charisma of a damp dish rag even if he can sing. Neither man has either the jaded womanizing experience of Skye Masterson or the 14 year long engagement of ne'er-do-well Nathan. As to being dated, what is wrong with doing a film in the era in which it is written? Cuba of the mafia era is a much more exciting destination for Skye and Sarah than the Venetian in Las Vegas.

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