Cast & Credits:
Release date: December 25, 2014
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Rob Marshall
MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material)
Screenwriter: James Lapine
Starring: Tracey Ullman, Frances de la Tour, Johnny Depp, Lucy Punch, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Simon Russell Beale, Tammy Blanchard, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski, Billy Magnussen, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Richard Glover, Joanna Riding, Annette Crosbie
Runtime: 124 mins.
Official website: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyIntoTheWoods
"Into the Woods" is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.
Did You Know?
The original 1987 Broadway production for "Into the Woods" starred Bernadette Peters as the Witch, Joanna Gleason as the Baker's Wife, Chip Zien as the Baker, Tom Aldredge as the Mysterious Man/Narrator and Barbara Bryne as Jack's Mother. The first Broadway revival in 2002 starred Vanessa Williams as the Witch, John McMartin as the Narrator/Mysterious Man, and Laura Benanti as Cinderella. Both Broadway productions were directed by James Lapine the librettist. In July of 2012, New York's Shakespeare in the Park production featured Donna Murphy as the Witch, Amy Adams as the Baker's Wife, and Denis O'Hare as the Baker.
Due to the original musical's adult themes and dark content, Disney had to have several scenes omitted or revised, which resulted in a re-written subplot involving Rapunzel as well as several deaths being implied by being moved off screen.
Overall, the screen adaptation by James Lapine is fairly close to his original stage musical. The only large change is the replacement of the Narrator using the Baker's voiceover for the narration. Another noticeable change is the cut of the Mysterious Man. The role played by Meryl Streep is a combination of both the Witch role and the Mysterious Man, but ultimately the witch.
The songs from the original stage musical that did not make it into the film adaptation are "I Guess This is Goodbye", "Maybe They're Magic", "Our Little World", "First Midnight", "Second Midnight", "Act I Finale: Ever After", "Act II Prologue: So Happy", "Agony (Reprise)" and "No More". Stephen Sondheim also wrote two original songs specially for the film: "Rainbows", which is a duet for Baker and his Wife and another one for the Witch, which neither made into the final film.