The 8 Things You May Not Know About Into the Woods; Playbill Will Debut World-Premiere Movie Clip

News   The 8 Things You May Not Know About Into the Woods; Playbill Will Debut World-Premiere Movie Clip
 
Playbill.com will premiere a world-premiere clip from the eagerly awaited film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods on Nov. 20. In anticipation, we share eight facts you may not know about the Woods.

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

Check back to Playbill.com for exclusive coverage of the "Into the Woods" film.

Click here for the Playbill magazine story about the film's cut songs, plot changes and transition to the screen.

1. Hollywood attempted a film adaptation of Into the Woods at least three times before. In the early 1990s Columbia Pictures announced it was working on an adaptation with a cast that was to have featured Cher as the Witch, Robin Williams as the Baker, Goldie Hawn as the Baker's Wife, Steve Martin as the Wolf and Danny DeVito as the Giant. Nothing came of that beyond a reading.

A few years later Columbia partnered with Jim Henson Productions to develop a film that would have been directed by Rob Minkoff. Columbia's last effort came in 1997 with Variety reporting Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan and Susan Sarandon were in talks to star. Nothing further came of that version either, until Disney acquired the rights.

2. The 1988 Tony Awards presented one of those situations where major writing awards went to one show, but Best Musical went to another. Into the Woods earned Tonys for Best Original Score and Best Book, but Best Musical went to The Phantom of the Opera, which is still running today and which got its own film adaptation in 2004.

Marin Mazzie
Marin Mazzie Photo by Mike Sharkey

3. Marin Mazzie understudied for Bernadette Peters (as well as the roles of Lucinda, Florinda and Cinderella) in the original production; she went on to replace in the role of Rapunzel. She would later create the role of Clara in Stephen Sondheim's Passion. Replacements for Peters included Betsy Joslyn, Nancy Dussault, Ellen Foley and Phylicia Rashad.

4. The original 1987 cast of Into the Woods was full of people who had appeared in the original casts of previous Sondheim musicals. Among them were Bernadette Peters, Danielle Ferland, Robert Westenberg and Barbara Bryne from Sunday in the Park with George; Edmund Lyndeck from Sweeney Todd; Merle Louise from Sweeney Todd, Company and Gypsy; and Joy Franz from A Little Night Music.

Chip Zien
Chip Zien Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

5. Chip Zien, who originated the role of the Baker, took on the role of the Mysterious Man (a.k.a. the Baker's father) in the 2012 Central Park production.

6. At the time of the original production, the show was widely credited as having been influenced by the writings of psychologist Bruno Bettleheim, especially as expressed in his 1976 book, "The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales." However, Sondheim subsequently denied it. He told James Lipton: "Everybody assumes we were influenced by Bruno Bettelheim. But if there's any outside influence, it's [Carl] Jung. James [Lapine] is interested in Jung — Twelve Dreams is based on a case Jung wrote about. In fact, we spoke to a Jungian analyst about fairy tales… It's about moral responsibility — the responsibility you have in getting your wish not to cheat and step on other people's toes, because it rebounds. The second act is about the consequences of not only the wishes themselves but of the methods by which the characters achieve their wishes, which are not always proper and moral."

7. Into the Woods contains characters from many different fairy tales. An early draft contained the characters of Rumpelstiltskin and The Three Pigs, which were cut, though the Pigs were restored (briefly) in the 2002 revival.

8. Disney has produced three previous television adaptations of Broadway musicals: Annie in 1999, The Music Man in 2003, and Once Upon A Mattress in 2005, but Into the Woods will mark the company’s first feature film adaptation of a Broadway musical. Disney also produced a film version of the 1903 Victor Herbert operetta Babes in Toyland in 1961.

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