Anna Kendrick Dishes on "Into the Woods" Changes and a Gender-Reversed Role That'd Get Her Back to Broadway

News   Anna Kendrick Dishes on "Into the Woods" Changes and a Gender-Reversed Role That'd Get Her Back to Broadway Tony and Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick trades in the plastic cup for slippers as pure as gold in her latest musical film, the highly anticipated adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods — although she never imagined she'd be the production's princess.

Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

"I had never considered myself a Cinderella," she admitted in an upcoming interview with Playbill magazine. "I always thought of myself as Little Red because I'm a little weirdo… So playing Cinderella, not only did I have to wrap my brain around being the sweet ingénue, but I had to get my voice ready to be more sweet and light and more of a true soprano, which I've never been before."

As Cinderella, the mistreated young maiden who wishes to attend the King's festival — in search of her happy ending and to rid herself of her evil stepmother — she's often found singing above the staff, especially when trying to reach a decision on the palace staircase.

"I had a really great and unique experience with Sondheim because he was changing the lyrics slightly to 'Steps of the Palace,' so I got to work closely with him on that," she said. "And, by closely, I mean, he was around giving me new lyrics, and I stood there and tried not to mess them up! That was obviously really exciting to realize that the material was still living and breathing and that I got to be a part of a song that was changing for the film adaptation."

Kendrick said that Sondheim was handing her lyric changes in the recording studio for "On the Steps of the Palace," and she assured that each change to the material was handled with care.

"It's certainly not like we took any of these changes lightly," she confided. "Everyone in this understands what Into the Woods means to the musical theatre community because it means that much to us. We were sitting around dinner [talking] about how to maintain the integrity of the piece because we all care about it so much. I didn't feel at any point that I was nervous because people were just flying fast and loose with the changes. Also, the fact that Sondheim was literally scribbling them down and handing them to me in the recording studio made me feel pretty good."

Anna Kendrick in "Into the Woods"
Anna Kendrick in "Into the Woods" Photo by Disney

Kendrick has found herself in and out of recording studios as of late. The actress, who made her Broadway debut at age 12 in High Society (nabbing a Featured Actress Tony nomination in 1998) and belted her best "Ladies Who Lunch" in the cult film "Camp," has returned to her theatrical roots. Kendrick stars in the a cappella hit "Pitch Perfect" (and its upcoming sequel) and the film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years.

Although it was reported in February that Kendrick said, "I never want to sing again, honestly. It's hard as f-ck," she realizes that, after all, opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.

"God, I feel like I should have never said that," she confessed to Playbill, "because all I meant is that nobody could possibly want to see me in another damn musical! I feel like I've been in everything that has come out in the last couple of years. I guess I just don't want to be the person who can't go an entire movie just saying dialogue."

As for what would get the sought-after star back to Broadway, it seems as though Sondheim has the way to her heart. "Oh, I don't know!" she said. "Maybe if they do a gender-swapped Little Night Music, I've always wanted to play Henrik."

Look for more from Kendrick and the stars of "Into the Woods" in an upcoming issue of Playbill magazine.

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

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