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Stephen Sondheim Goes Into Damage Control Mode Following Tales of Disneyfied Into the Woods

I smell BS.

meryl streep into the woods

Last week musical nerds clutched their hands to their bosoms and wailed unto the sky when word hit the web of Stephen Sondheim saying the movie version of Into the Woods is being hacked and slashed at by Disney until it resembles something appropriate for children. Infidelity subplot: Gone. Character death: Gone. Sexualization of the relationship between Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf: Gone. Only now Sondheim has released a statement saying his original quotes were taken out of context.

…Except the Little Red Riding Hood sex thing. Considering they have an actual child playing her in the movie, that’s probably for the best.

Said Sondheim to Playbill (bolded for emphasis):

An article in The New Yorker misreporting my “Master Class” conversation about censorship in our schools with seventeen teachers from the Academy for Teachers a couple of weeks ago has created some false impressions about my collaboration with the Disney Studio on the film version of Into the Woods. The fact is that James (Lapine, who wrote both the show and the movie) and I worked out every change from stage to screen with the producers and with Rob Marshall, the director. Despite what the New Yorker article may convey, the collaboration was genuinely collaborative and always productive.

When the conversation with the teachers occurred, I had not yet seen a full rough cut of the movie. Coincidentally, I saw it immediately after leaving the meeting and, having now seen it a couple of times, I can happily report that it is not only a faithful adaptation of the show, it is a first-rate movie.

And for those who care, as the teachers did, the Prince’s dalliance is still in the movie, and so is “Any Moment.”

Normally I’d say this reads as genuine, but considering it’s Disney, I’m not 100% sure there aren’t 300-pound bruisers in Mickey Mouse hats torturing Sondheim with thumbscrews as he tearfully reads a statement into a dictaphone. The Mouse House always has to have that image on lockdown. As it is, we’ll just have to wait and see. But frankly, I’d be shocked if there isn’t some major-league sanitization at the end of this road we’re on.

(via Entertainment Weekly)

Previously in Into the Woods

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