Stephen Sondheim

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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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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Burton, from Sondheim’s source material (a helluva score), does a heck of a job balancing the unwinking bloodletting with a bit of dark comedy.

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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp go together like black and blue, or like fire and ash. Amidst the chaos, there is a unique unison between the two conflicting forces.

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