Rob Marshall

Into the Woods

Everybody loves musicals, right? Yes. Let’s go ahead and say that everybody loves musicals. But there is a caveat to this fact I’ve just gone ahead and made up. A musical is only warm and lovable if you explicitly know you’re watching a musical. Say you put on what you think is an ordinary film — let’s go with Blade Runner – and out of nowhere Rutger Hauer belts out an “Attack ships! On fire off the shoulder of Oriiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooon!” while a chorus line of Harrison Ford replicants shimmy across the background. That’s sure to put a lot of people off (although for the record, I would pay any sum of money to witness such a thing). Yet Into the Woods has just gone and played that same maneuver: the “singing robot surprise.” The first trailer for Rob Marshall‘s seemingly-ordinary fairy tale film has finally arrived, and it’s stuffed full of all sorts of fantasy teases. A girl in a red hood skips merrily into a wild and extremely unsafe-looking forest. A boy climbs several stories beanstalk without any visible safety gear. Also there’s a witch, a wolf-thing, a Rapunzel and a big mess of Maleficent quick-growing thorns. The only thing missing is the one thing that’s kind of crucial to Into the Woods: vocalized musical tones. Check out this strange, song-free trailer below.

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INTO THE WOODS

[Click to massively largify] This movie looks like it’s going to be awesome. You’ve got the pedigree of Steven Sondheim and James Lapine matched with an intriguing cast that features Meryl Streep in the spotlight, and in our first look at Into the Woods, she’s looking a bit like the witch from Big Fish minus the eyepatch. The character is desperate to regain her youth and beauty, so she makes a bargain with a cursed baker (James Corden) to un-hex him if he brings her a bunch of bizarre items. Along the way, he runs into all sorts of fairy tale characters — Jack with his magic beans, Cinderella and Rapunzel to name just a few. It’s a really fun musical with a dark sense of humor, and we’ll get to see if Rob Marshall and company can bring its spirit from the stage to the screen in December 2014.

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There hasn’t exactly been a fire under the tails of most fans of W.S. Van Dyke‘s classic take on Dashiell Hammett‘s The Thin Man to see a new version of the film starring Johnny Depp, and apparently that attitude has carried over to the actual production. Deadline Bay Ridge reports that they’ve heard tell that Warner Bros. is “pumping the brakes” on the remake, which is set to star Depp, be directed by Rob Marshall (raspberry-blowing noise here), and come with a script by David Koepp. The outlet reports that the production is being put on pause for a number of no-duh factors, including their protracted and so far fruitless search to find a Nora Charles to Depp’s Nick Charles, a budget that apparently has gone over $100m, Depp’s preference for taking some time between films, and the big one – the film hasn’t been greenlit yet (the one fact that WB confirmed to the outlet).

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Actress Emily Blunt has reportedly nabbed the female lead role in one of Tom Cruise‘s next projects, a sci-fi actioner not be confused with his Oblivion/Horizons that went through a long cycle of “short list” casting choices before settling on its two female leads. Fortunately, Doug Liman‘s All You Need is Kill has not subjected the movie news-consuming public to another drawn-out casting process and has just gone ahead and picked a dazzling lead. Variety reports that Blunt and Warner Bros. have ended a “long flirtation” for the part, with the Brit currently in talks for the role. The film is being adapted from a “light novel” of the same name by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, that centers on a new soldier (named Keiji Kiriya) who dies in his first battle – which happens to be against evil aliens who are taking over the Earth. Oddly enough, Keiji’s death is not the end of his life, as he wakes up every morning and relives the battle (and his death) over and over. It’s like a war-set sci-fi Groundhog Day. Blunt will reportedly play “another solider who fights alongside Cruise.” While I have not yet read the film’s highly lauded source material, a brief trip to the book’s Wikipedia page reveals a possible character for Blunt – “Rita Vrataski: A U.S. special forces soldier. Highly decorated and peerless in battle, she is seen as a hero by the entire world. In reality, she was caught in a time loop just like Keiji.” That […]

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It’s musical adaptation day at Film School Rejects! Everyone, jazz hands! Earlier today, I was perhaps hysterically excited over the news that screenwriter John Logan would be adapting Jersey Boys for the big screen, but this latest adaptation news has landed on my all-singing, all-dancing heart like a block of lead. Rob Marshall has just signed on to direct a cinematic adaptation Stephen Sondheim‘s Into the Woods for The Walt Disney Company. James Lapine, who wrote the musical with composer Sondheim, will pen the screenplay. The play is a bit of a no-duh fit for Disney, as anyone who is familiar with the work will attest. The play “weaves together the story of several of the most beloved fairytales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel) into the original story of a Baker and his wife who try to reverse a curse on their family in order to have a child, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests and their desire for ‘happily ever after.’” Fairytales with a twist? Yup, that sounds like something Hollywood is into right now, and Disney definitely has a vested interest in Cinderella and Rapunzel. Into the Woods earned ten nominations at the 1988 Tony Awards, with wins that included Best Score and Best Book of a Musical. The play returned with a 2002 Broadway revival that won a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. With a pedigree like that, it’s a wonder that it’s yet to get a […]

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I’ve reported on the Thin Man remake that Johnny Depp is attached to star in a couple times before. First, there was the news that “Permanent Midnight” author Jerry Stahl would be writing the new screenplay for the film. Then there was word that past Depp collaborator Rob Marshall would be stepping in to direct. A new round of updates on the development of this project seem to confirm that, yes, Marshall is still attached to sit in the director’s chair. However, it seems that Stahl never actually did any writing for the film, so the suits have gotten a new guy to start a script from scratch. According to Deadline Rockland, veteran screenwriter David Koepp has now been charged with the duty of updating the exploits of married P.I. team Nick and Nora Charles. Koepp’s name doesn’t really tell me much about what to expect from this movie. He’s responsible for completely acceptable literary adaptations like Jurassic Park, but he’s also responsible for completely unacceptable literary adaptations like Angels & Demons. I guess his involvement is going to be a bit of a crapshoot.

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Two-weeks or so after the release of the near-terrible Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, there’s already a list of directors that Disney is keen on to helm the fifth entry in the quality diving franchise. The list of filmmakers Disney is favoring is a bit surprising. There’s their top pick of Tim Burton, the always busy Sam Raimi, critical darling Alfonso Cuarón, Twilight 2 guy Chris Weitz, and the online venom drawer, Shawn Levy. Apparently an offer went out to Rob Marshall to return months ago, although he may be too busy with his Thin Man remake (*eye roll*)… Burton was rumored for the fourth film as well, but after Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes, I don’t think I’ll ever be interested in seeing a big Burton action sequence ever again. And considering he’s currently working on Dark Shadows then Frankenweenie, he may be not have the time. Side note, when will see an original Burton film again?

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Disney’s latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise arrived in theaters nationwide yesterday, and in keeping with all things peg-leggy and swashbuckly, I present selections from the On Stranger Tides press conference. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Rob Marshall, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush were front and center for the press event, with moderator Pete Hammond at the helm. Here’s what they had to say.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets shanghaied by a group of drunken, smelly people he met in a pub. If only, if only these were really pirates taking him aboard a haunted ship. Alas, they weren’t. Let’s just say that there might be a few trips to the pharmacy in store for him. After surviving his if-only-it-were-real-pirates experience, Kevin took a shot at seeing Jodie Foster’s Beaver. Unfortunately, no one told him this was a title to an actual film, so he spent another few days in jail, missing any opportunity to see that new Mel Gibson film at all.

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After the nadir that was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, it was clear that the most lucrative movie franchise of the new millennium needed some freshening up. So, out (reportedly by their own choosing) went director Gore Verbinski and co-stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. In their stead, new helmer Rob Marshall is relied upon for his eye for grandiose theatrical imagery and staging, while Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are meant to add spice and character to the proceedings. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is, well, Captain Jack. Yet On Stranger Tides, the fourth Pirates flick, proves an age-old maxim: the more things change, the more they stay the same. However much the franchise has cosmetically shifted, the new picture is rooted in the familiar: Supernatural-tinged storytelling, murkily-shot battles fought against pristine backdrops, colonial-era costumes and the admittedly unforgettable protagonist, who has become an icon thanks to Depp’s epicene, offbeat take. It is by now a tired formula, rendered in such a way that emotional investment is muted and the more adventuresome aspects are diluted by their adherence to this static aesthetic. Character and atmosphere are sacrificed to spectacle, and the spectacle — sprightly chases, dull sword fights and sweeping, zooming shots of the lush Caribbean sea/countryside — has worn down.

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A remake of the classic detective story following the exploits of married couple Nick and Nora Charles has been in the works for a while with Johnny Depp attached to star as Nick Charles and Jerry Stahl on board to write the script. Rumor had it that Depp’s director on the upcoming fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film On Stranger Tides was thinking about signing on to this project as well, and now a press release from Warner Bros. has made it official. The Thin Man was first a novel written by Dashiell Hammett, then it was a film directed by W.S. Van Dyke, and now it will be remake by Rob Marshall. Marshall says of the project, “John [DeLuca] and I are overjoyed at the idea of working with Johnny again, especially on such a classy and classic project. We are also thrilled to be partnering this time with such wonderful producers as Christi Dembroski and Kevin McCormick, and we are looking forward to working with Warner Bros. to create a reinvention of a beloved story.”

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So, what did you think of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? Do you think it was good enough to keep the series going despite the loss of Gore Verbinski in the director’s chair and Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom in starring roles? Oh wait… you didn’t even see it yet? It hasn’t come out? Well, that’s not stopping Disney from getting the wheels in motion for a fifth one. They’ve got visions of that 3D money dancing in their heads. However, all of the pieces are yet to be in place to make a fifth film official. What has already happened is producers have a first draft of the script in their hands. Terry Rossio has once again handled the chores of coming up with more mystical pirate adventures, but for the first time he’s done the work without collaborator Ted Elliott. Now that there’s a story in place, the next step will be for the moneymen to try and get the star and a director in place. Overtures have already been made toward On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall to keep this train a rolling, but nothing is official on that front.

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Disney has released the first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides this week, and it’s more of the same from Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and crew. From the familiar score to the wobbly mess that is the series’ lead character to the subtle hints that two young stars may be central to the actual story (keep an eye on the young lad and the mermaid), we’ve seen this act before. It doesn’t make it appear to be any less fun, however.

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Ian McShane is many things to many people. To the children of the world, he will soon be the next big bad pirate to try and thwart the jolly conquests of Jack Sparrow, a character whose stories have earned Walt Disney Pictures over a two and a half billion dollars at the box office. According to THR, McShane has joined the production of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the villainous Blackbeard.

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Yesterday we reported that Oscar-nominated actress Penelope Cruz (Nine) was joining Lars von Trier’s next film, Planet Melancholia. As it turns out, that report might have been wrong. The good news is that Ms. Cruz is moving on, and fast.

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Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. The latest in the series will be filmed in Hawaii.

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A new report released this week showed that sex doesn’t sell quite the same way as it used to. Not the case with this new poster from the Rob Marshall directed musical Nine.

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What began as a rumor back in July of this year has finally been confirmed by director Rob Marshall, who spilled the beans on his involvement with Pirates of the Caribbean 4 while holding a DGA screening of his latest film, Nine.

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After watching this brand new trailer for the upcoming musical Nine, from director Rob Marshall (Chicago), we also love the cinema Italiano.

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Once again, the Harvey and Bob show is messing with their release schedule, moving around Oscar hopefuls and highly anticipated fall releases for reasons unknown — or mostly unknown.

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