If you plan on spending Christmas day digesting your holiday feast with the whole family, I highly suggest you do it while watching the stage to screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s modern musical fairytale, Into the Woods.
This movie really has something for everyone. It’s funny, emotional, and a little bit dark. Not to mention, it comes with a seriously all-star cast.
At the helm of the film, director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) worked alongside Meryl Streep (Witch), Johnny Depp (Wolf), James Corden (Baker), Emily Blunt (Baker’s Wife), Anna Kendrick (Cinderella), Chris Pine (Cinderella’s Prince), Christine Baranksi (Stemother), Tracey Ullman (Jack’s Mother). And, for those of you with an eye for aesthetics, Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood (Chicago, Alice in Wonderland) designed all of their costumes.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, and James Corden for a roundtable interview and talk about a myriad of subjects. The topics ranged from their favorite Disney movies to knocking musicals off of their bucket lists. We even got to touch on the rumors surrounding Emily taking on the role of Captain Marvel! It was all very exciting.
Anna and James on musicals:
As everyone knows, musicals adapted to screen can go one of two ways: phenomenal or comically horrendous. As Rob Marshall mentioned, sometimes you don't even know how it's going to turn out until it's already over. So, with that in mind, it's always interesting to see these big-name actors take on roles that could so easily tarnish their reputations.
When Anna and James were asked about whether it's on their bucket list to tackle such a role, their answers were a resounding "Yes". James Corden, who is no stranger to the stage, said:
I’ve always wanted to be in musicals, full stop. Not just in film, but on stage. I think it’s a wonderful medium. Some of my greatest times, growing up, were watching Grease or Guys and Dolls. When done right, I don’t know if there’s anything better.
Anna Kendrick is already well-versed in the ways of singing for the screen. With [Pitch Perfect](movie:589160) and the upcoming film adaptation of The Last Five Years (Feb 13) under her belt, it's no secret that Anna has the voice that sounds like the combination of Fergie and Jesus (don't mind the Stepbrothers reference). She stated:
I can’t speak for anybody else, but certainly, it was on my bucket list. And to get to do this piece, in particular, is sort of a trip. I wanted to be Little Red from the time that I first saw it, and was thoroughly disappointed that an actual child stole the role right from under me, being young and whatever. We all just want to always do something different, whether it’s a different genre or a different kind of character. Everybody gets bored easily, so I would imagine that, for anybody who’s ever even once sung in the shower, being in a musical is probably on the list.
Well, she has a point there. My shower singing has almost persuaded me to go out for a Broadway show or two. In reality, I sound like that screaming goat dubbed over Taylor Swift, only minus the Taylor Swift part. Okay, I sound like a screaming goat!
On Disney movies:
This being a Disney movie and all, we had to discuss which movies were their favorites. Like most of us, their favorites pretty much aligned with the ones they associate most with growing up. See? These stars were growing up Disney, just like the rest of us.
Emily - Robin Hood & The Sword in the Stone
I grew up watching all of the Disney movies. I remember the first Disney movies I had were 'Robin Hood' and 'The Sword in the Stone.' My sister and I got one each for Christmas, and we watched them 55 times.
So, I would say, for nostalgic reasons, those two were my favorites because they were my first experience with watching Disney movies.
James - Beauty and the Beast & Toy Story
'Beauty and the Beast' was a huge thing for me. I loved that film so much. It’s amazing...There was a great run of 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Aladdin,' 'The Lion King,' 'The Little Mermaid.' Just because they’re animated, it does not mean that they should be discredited as fantastic musicals. 'Frozen,' also. These are really great musicals that are brilliantly constructed and brilliantly written. For some reason, because they’re animated, I don’t know if they’re classed in the same way, but I feel that they should be.
And there’s no greater trilogy than 'Toy Story.' I don’t care what you say. Bring your 'Star Wars' and your 'Indiana Jones.' As three films, there is no better trilogy than 'Toy Story.' I’m 100% serious, from the way it’s constructed and the way the characters develop. 'Return of the Jedi' is not as good as 'The Empire Strikes Back.' That is just a fact. And 'Godfather III' is nowhere near as good as 'Godfather II.' It’s true that doing it three times is almost impossible, and Toy Story is a genuine master class.
Anna - Cinderella & The Little Mermaid
'Cinderella', the cartoon, scared the shit out of me, when I was a kid. When the stepsisters rip her dress apart, that was really horrifying. I identified most with Gus, the fat mouse. 'The Little Mermaid' was a big one for me.
My parents got the VHS for me, when I was a kid, for my birthday one year. I didn’t really understand that anybody could get a VHS. I thought there were probably a hundred in the whole world, and I lost my mind. I was almost like, “It’s too much! You’ve done too much! I can’t accept it!” That was a big day for me.
On Captain Marvel casting rumors:
Since we had Emily Blunt in the room with us which (sadly) doesn't happen to me often, my editor would have killed me if the rumors making their way around the Internet in regards to her playing Captain Marvel weren't discussed. For my physical safety and job security, I was relieved when the subject came up.
Since I already had my heart set on this fan casting, I was pretty disappointed to learn that she has yet to see a formal offer to play the role.
In her own words:
It’s funny ‘cause I’m hearing this Captain Marvel thing from a lot of people. I have no official offer, whatsoever. No one’s called. I don’t know where the hell it’s come from, in all honesty.
For me, I just think that the part has gotta be awesome. I just want to play great parts, and it’s sometimes hard to find within those big superhero movies. The female parts are not usually great, but recently, they’ve been better. I don’t know. It has to be the right thing.
It has become abundantly clear after this year Emily is a great actress in both comedy and action roles. And I think it's pretty safe to say that, under Marvel's control, this role would be pretty awesome. So c'mon, Hollywood, let's make it "right" for Emily! Please?
Into the Woods will have audiences singing the movie’s songs and praises long after leaving the theater. Now whether or not you can handle your family singing "Agony" on the whole ride home, now that's up to you.
[Into the Woods](movie:342930) hits theaters Christmas day.