Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What the Heck is Going on with 'Into the Woods'

I need to take a deep breath.

Composer Stephen Sondheim revealed a few moments in the woods hours ago what Rob Marshall's big screen adaptation of Into the Woods will not have.  I always thought The Mouse House was an odd choice for the distributor considering the dark material, but, then again, no one sells princesses like Disney.  

In the meeting with a group of drama teachers, Sondheim revealed that Rapunzel does not get stepped on by the giant, but she lives.  Guess killing off their Tangled heroine hit a little too close to home.  Sondheim says they "replotted" Rapunzel's fate, and they wrote a new song to cover it.  New Sondheim music?  Ok...maybe I can live with that.  Maybe.  

I knew that they weren't going to keep The Wolf as sexual as he is in the stage play.  I'm pretty sure that's what everyone thought when the project came together in the first place.  Moving on.  

Then Sondheim announced what, I think, is the most dreadful news of all.  "Any Moment," sung by Cinderella's Prince is "probably cut," and so is (spoiler) the brief love affair between Cinderella's Prince and Emily Blunt's The Baker's Wife.  Does this mean "Moments in the Woods" is also cut?  That's quite possibly my favorite number of the entire show--it's up there anyway.  Hopefully, it will stay in, because I was really looking forward to hearing Blunt sing that song.  But in what context will it be if the tryst is left on the cutting room floor?  

I'm the first one to tell freaked out people that you can't directly adapt a stage musical to the screen without making changes.  I was miffed when "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" was cut from Tim Burton's adaptation, and I ended up loving (Lovett-ing?) it.  Things are bound to get cut to make something more cinematic, but is Disney squeaking everything clean?  Are they trying to make it fit into the now popular live action fairy tale canon?  Into the Woods isn't squeaky clean.  It questions what happens after ever after.  

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We haven't seen a trailer, so we shouldn't totally freak out.  I'm already calming down, but it still doesn't make sense as to why you would have such amazing source material on a silver platter and then change it.  Disney is just perhaps the wrong studio.  I just don't want to see Into the Woods Barbie dolls next to Princess Jasmine action figures next time I go into The Disney Store.  If you don't like the material, find other material.  Don't just slash something so great, because it doesn't "fit" what you think it should.  

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