Disney's offering a sneak peek "Into The Woods," where Meryl Streep weaves a complicated and magical fairytale.
Wednesday, July 30, Disney released high-definition production stills of quite a few cast members.
Most of the scenes involve going "into the woods," getting lost in the story, as the title suggests. Entertainment Weekly shows the various released images in Marc Snetiker's "Disney's 'Into the Woods' drops 10 new production photos."
In one still, Witch (Streep) is scene hovering over the Baker (James Corden), both looking around in surprise and perhaps some worry. The Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt) clutches to her husband in another shot, looking on fear. At some point, the questioning Baker mets up with a sullen Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) in the woods.
Meanwhile in another part of the woods, Cinderella's Prince (Chris Pine) looks off camera, blue and black tones setting a menacing atmosphere. Of course, Cinderella stares at someone in annoyance, trying to polish the silverware in a dank, dusty room. Her obnoxious, simpering, cruel Stepmother (Christine Baranski) openly mocks the poor ash girl, while stepsisters Lucinda (Lucy Punch) sneers and Florina (Tammy Blanchard) almost doubles over in cruelty. And interestingly enough, Lucy Punch played Anne Hathaway's evil stepsister in Ella Enchanted.
Galloping through the forest, Rapunzel's Prince (Billy Magnussen) seems to be dressed similarly to Cinderella's charming beau, but riding a white steed. A dreamy Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) is sitting in tower window seat with hair hanging from a hook and looking towards something or someone. There's a romantic feel to the scene, the soft light in counter to Cinderella's home.
Without showing much, the Wolf (Johnny Deep) is seen stroking a tree while twisting, beckoning some character and the audience to follow. Disney’s holding onto Depp pictures, keeping them away, because they know Depp is a known moneymaker. Outside the woods, but near, Jack Little (Daniel Huttlestone) walks along a pasture, leading a cow while his mother (Tracey Ullman) brings up the rear.
All the images offer a lot of context, curiosity, and color. What they don't do however is provide moving imagery. Which is why Disney unexpectedly releasing the trailer today, July 31, created quite a media buzz.
When news of Stephen Sondheim's lyrics and songs being eliminated or reworked leaked earlier this year, the audience reaction was mixed. So the just-released trailer offers the first real look into what the audience can expect on the big screen. In The Wire's "'Into the Woods' Trailer Promises Wishes and Witches," Esther Zuckerman points out how the reinvention isn't made for a Broadway stage, like the original musical. Instead the entire movie is a big production meant to engage into audience and keep people returning for multiple viewings.
And "Taking out some of its trademark subversiveness" changes the audience appeal to general instead of the traditionally more mature set. It’s a bit like reworking Chaucer where you eliminate the underlying layer of context. Even after reassurances by Sondheim, there's still an edge of worry from the diehard fans.
In the trailer, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, and Cinderella all whisper "I wish" into the air. Suddenly, the Witch blows the Bakers' door down. She asks the terrified and surprised couple, "You wish to have a curse reversed?"
Variety's Dave McNary explains the reason for the Witch's sudden appearance in "Watch the First Trailer for Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’." The story line "revolves around a childless baker and his wife who attempt to lift a family curse by journeying into the woods to confront the witch that put the spell on them." Looking at the list of characters the couple meets inside the woods, there’s a clear connection to young adults, children, and women.
"Be careful what you wish for" warns at the end of the trailer, as the fairytale world seems to be falling apart and the Witch orders the Bakers to "go into the woods." That last frames show thorns reminiscent of those on Sleeping Beauty's castle crawling together and creating the title sequence for Into The Woods.
With over four months of time, fans can expect even more scenes and images as production finishes up and gets ready to hit the theaters. And maybe a little more listening to Meryl do those witchy raps.