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What's with the name?

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Disney’s Into the Woods Movie Goes Into the Production, Releases Official Cast


More than a year and a half after their very first announcement, Disney rolled into production on Into the Woods last week, and with the start of filming comes, naturally, the final cast. Is a viral video star, as rumored, really in the role of Little Red Riding Hood? Is Anna Kendrick in it? Are Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Pine, and Johnny Depp all in one movie?

Thank goodness we have answers to all these questions below. Get ready for a wall of names.

One of the earliest, and most exciting announcements about the film has panned out: Meryl Streep will be playing the Witch, so we can all sit back and start imagining the Oscar nomination now.

Emily Blunt and James Corden (that’s Stormageddon’s Dad to you Doctor Who fans) are in as the Baker and the Baker’s Wife; as rumored, Anna Kendrick is our Cinderella, with Chris Pine for a prince; and MacKenzie Mauzy pairs with Billy Magnussen to form up the musical’s other prominent fairy tale couple, Rapunzel and her prince. Johnny Depp will play the Wolf alongside a Little Red Riding Hood played by Lilla Crawford, fresh off titular role in Broadway’s Annie, and the movie’s other child actor will be one familiar to Les Mis fans. Yes, Daniel Huttlestone, Gavroche, is Into the Woods‘ Jack. Speaking of light typecasting, Frances de la Tour, familiar to Harry Potter fans as Madame Maxine, will play the Giant.

The supporting cast (if you can call it that in a list of characters this long) will be rounded out by (deep breath): Tracey UllmanChristine BaranskiTammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Richard Glover, Simon Russell Beale, Joanna Riding, and Annette Crosbie will play, respectively, Jack’s Mother,  Cinderella’s stepmother, a stepsister, a stepsister, the Princes’ steward, the Baker’s father, Cinderella’s mother, and Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Annette Crosbie, for you older nerds out there, was the voice of Galadriel in Ralph Bakshi‘s Lord of the Rings, and fans of the Cornetto Trilogy will remember Lucy Punch as “Juliet” in Hot Fuzz.

That’s a cast any nerd, whether Disney, musical theater, Doctor Who, Harry Potter or otherwise, can be proud of, and I’m certainly interested in how things play out. The show will undoubtedly need some condensing to make it to a length movie audiences will sit through, but with its original writer on board to craft it, I’m not too worried about losing its message. Disney’s press release confirms the inclusion of the songs “Children Will Listen,” “Giants in the Sky,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One Is Alone” and “Agony,” “among others,” with an all new song for the movie penned by Stephen Sondheim himself, all but guaranteeing that we’ll be seeing this cast up on stage at the Academy Awards in 2015. Into the Woods has a release date of Christmas, 2014.

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  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    Wow.

    I have to say, the biggest wild card for me in this is Johnny Depp. Is he going to play the Wolf, or is he going to play Johnny Depp playing the Wolf?

    I will probably see this movie, if only for Christine Baranski.

  • Emerald White

    Praise the nerd gods, this is going to be amazing. I love when actors cross over to other fandoms. I practically hugged the tv when I realized Simon Pegg was in the episode of Doctor Who I watched last night.

  • Anonymous

    Very, very sad Bernadette Peters is not in this.

  • kat

    I’m probably a horrid person for saying this but I am mostly so, so glad Sophia Grace isn’t playing Red Riding Hood and they actually cast a proper Broadway actress in the role.

  • Anonymous

    Bernadette will always be the best Witch to me. ^_^

  • Dave

    I can’t fault the talent of everyone involved, but is it just me or is this production super-white…? The ’97 Cinderella definitely proved that audiences can handle diverse casting in a fairy tale musical.

  • http://www.Facebook.com/AaronVSteimle Aaron Victor Steimle

    Meryl Streep is not strong enough of a singer for the Witch; did we not learn anything from Momma Mia!?!

  • Anonymous

    I just can’t get behind the Meryl Streep casting. She’s a wonderful actress, but she doesn’t have the pipes for this role. It should be Bernadette Peters.

  • Samuel

    Which do you think? I’ve long since given up on Johnny Depp actually acting a role, he’s just going to do that thing he does and people will think he’s obscure and brilliant.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t.

  • Melynda

    My only issue is with the casting of Johnny Depp (I am so sick of him). Also I’m glad that those rumors of that annoying British girl Ellen keeps forcing on her viewers as Little Red Riding Hood didn’t pan out.

  • Melynda

    You are not horrid for saying it. Or I am horrid too for agreeing with you.

  • Anonymous

    I feel the same way. Brilliant actress, but she’s going to carry a lot of the heavy singing in this musical.

    Also, tell me if this is ageist, but I don’t think this role should go to Streep or even Peters. The big reveal at the end (SPOILER) is that the witch transforms from an old, wizened woman into her youthful, buxom form, which was her goal all along. Are there no actresses who can sing in their 30′s/40′s?

    Unless they plan to X-Men: The Last Stand Meryl, how are they going to do this?

  • Anonymous

    I have the sense that Disney’s going to completely retool “Hello Little Girl” into something more like a slick, cool, ne’er do well song than the quasi-sexual predatory song, particularly given the age of the actress (as was discussed in an earlier post). While it makes sense, it’s a bit too bad that the film wouldn’t just cast a slightly older set of actors to make the theme acceptable enough to maintain the film’s complete maturity.

    I just wish a musical film would be cast with a focus on great actors who can sing, rather than just good actors. Kendrick is probably their only contemporary movie star and Broadway vet, but even she’s had a long time away from the musical stage. At least Red and Jack should be deftly handled.

    Separately, LOVE Christine Baranski, but I wonder if she ever feels tired of always being cast as either the saucy minx side character or the evil vampy older woman?

  • kat

    I’m guessing that’s referring to the digital face-lifts Sir Ian and Sir Patrick were given in X-Men: The Last Stand, to appear as slightly younger versions of themselves? So to “X-Men: The Last Stand” Meryl = digitally age her down during the big reveal.

  • Anonymous

    How they glopped a bunch of bad CGI onto Stweart and McKellan to make them look like men in their 40′s. “X-men: The Last Stand” is used as a funky verb. (Though, it was more poorly used in X-Men Origins: Wolverine on poor Stewart…)

  • Anonymous

    Bingo. :)

  • Anonymous

    I kind of hope they at least give her a cameo. The rendition she did in concert of “No One is Alone” is my absolute favorite.

  • Charles Ranier

    so is Simon Russell Beale also playing the narrator? Because traditionally the narrator and the Baker’s father are played by the same actor onstage. And I noticed no listing for a narrator. But for all I know Disney could be writing him out, which would be Very Bad in the idea department, akin to “some of us don’t like the way you’ve been telling it” *glances at nails*

  • Anonymous

    I think Bernadette Peters looks significantly younger than she is (younger than Meryl certainly) but I see your point.

  • Anonymous

    Something to keep in mind is that this movie might be radically different from the stage play. Sondheim substantially rewrote the entire show for the planned 90s movie and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one were different as well.

  • Jesse Tannehill

    My friends and I always refer to it as “benjamin buttoning”.

  • Amy W

    This is interesting to me because I CAN’T remember when the Baker’s father appears in the show at all. I remember the narrator himself getting roped into the story at times. But when as the Baker’s father?

  • Anonymous

    You can’t top them but then nobody is trying. Streep will be a wonderful witch, I’m less sure about the rest of the cast. The only one with actual Broadway musical experience is Kendrick and she’d make a fine Cinderella if not for… you know… being an alto and definitely *not* in the Cinderella range but details, right? Hollywood has proven that they don’t really care about the singing in musicals so much as the number of names they can shove into the opening credits.

  • Anonymous

    The thing with the Witch is that her singing doesn’t need to be powerful, it’s all about the acting and emotion through the singing. Don’t get me started on Mamma Mia, that’s crap jukebox pretend musical.

  • Anonymous

    The Baker’s father is the old man that appears to the Baker in the woods and convinces him to buy the cow from Jack. His later encounter with the witch suggests that he’s his father.

  • Anonymous

    I mean, I’ve seen Bernadette on Smash, and she looks like a woman of her age. Meryl also looks like a woman of her age. There’s nothing wrong with it. But while they would need a ton of make up to look as old as the witch, it would be much harder to make them look as young as the witch is supposed to look if they’re not.

    Ironically, Bernadette and Meryl both did this sort of transformation when they were younger in the original Into the Woods and Death Becomes Her, respectively.

  • not-so-small-mercies

    *SPOILERS* THE MYSTERIOUS MAN! *SPOILERS*

  • Brian

    I’m pretty sure he’s forgotten how to act without a funny hat on.

  • Brian

    Correction: She looks like a woman of her age who’s clearly had some work done. I was shocked when I saw her on Smash.

  • Brian

    And honestly, Stewart doesn’t look that much older now than he did in the late ’70s, except that his fringe is whiter.

  • Sadie-Ann

    That and the whole song ‘No More’ deals with it.

  • Anonymous

    …Yeah. I didn’t really want to say it, but I was a bit dismayed when I saw her in the first season of Smash. She looked quite awful from the obvious facial work. But then she looked much better in season 2, so I figured she had stopped whatever she was doing… :/

  • Brian

    Oh, good. I didn’t watch season 2, so I hadn’t seen that. I was hoping it was just some temporary frozen face and she wasn’t turning into Joan Rivers.

  • Amy W

    I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT HIM, Mysterious-Unnamed-Man OR clearly Father-figure, either way.

    When I think about it, I think I may have thought he simply WAS the Narrator, telling the story of his son and friends, and showing how he himself appeared after many years in the wilderness. Which doesn’t make the Narrator’s part in the story in Act II fit, but what.