Rob Marshall Attached to Bring Into the Woods to the Screen
By Adam Hetrick
Tony and Academy Award-nominated "Chicago" and "Nine" director-choreographer Rob Marshall will pick up the cinematic torch to bring Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning musical Into the Woods to the big screen, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Into the Woods bookwriter Lapine is currently at work on the screenplay, which will likely feature new songs by Sondheim. A timetable for the film, which is being created for Disney, has not been set. Marshall is also at work on a film of "The Thin Man" for Warner Brothers.
Casting for the film of Into the Woods has not been set.
This is not the first time Into the Woods has attempted to get its wish on screen. Prior to his death, late director-puppet creator Jim Henson was attached to bring Into the Woods to cinemas for Columbia Pictures. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel were behind that script, which was to feature creatures from Henson's studio. Sondheim had put work into the film treatment with a new opening billed "I Wish" and a song titled "Rainbows" for the Baker and his wife.
Excerpts of that text are featured in Sondheim's latest book "Look, I Made a Hat."
Two readings of that vision for film were held; the first included such notable actors as Martin Short (the Baker), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (the Baker's Wife), Neil Patrick Harris (Jack), Christine Lahti (the Witch) and Michael Jeter (the Giant). A later reading featured Cher (the Witch), Robin Williams (the Baker), Goldie Hawn (the Baker's Wife), Elijah Wood (Jack), Danny DeVito (the Giant) and Steven Martin (the Wolf), among others.
As previously reported, Into the Woods is in negotiations to return to New York this summer in an outdoor staging at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park under the wings of the Public Theater. It will likely incorporate elements from the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, which was staged in London in 2010.
Into the Woods features a Tony-winning score by Sondheim and Tony-winning book by Lapine, who also staged both Broadway productions of the musical. Into the Woods premiered on Broadway in 1987 at the Martin Beck Theatre starring Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, Joanna Gleason, Kim Crosby and Robert Westenberg. The original cast performance was preserved by PBS' American Playhouse in 1991. A 2002 Broadway revival played the Broadhurst Theatre.
Marshall most recently directed "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" for Disney. He also executive produced, directed and choreographed "Tony Bennett: An American Classic." His screen work also includes "Memoirs of a Geisha," “Chicago," "Nine" and "Annie." He is a six-time Tony Award nominee for Little Me (Best Choreography), Cabaret (Best Direction, Best Choreography), She Loves Me (Best Choreography), Damn Yankees (Best Choreography) and Kiss of the Spider Woman (Best Choreography).
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