Friday, June 28, 2013
Although it got very mixed reviews from critics and theatergoers—which are pretty much the same thing since theatre fans are some of the most critical people I know—the box office success of Les Miserables has more than likely opened the floodgates from a steady trickle to what will be a full-out tsunami of shows turned movies and movies turned shows.
One that I am looking forward to in particular is the Christmas 2014 release of Into the Woods, which looks to have a powerhouse Hollywood cast lined up. The show takes the storylines from Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel and weaves them all together using original characters The Baker and his wife, who are pitted against a witch. I mean, you can’t have a good fairy tale without a witch, right?
So far, casting reports are that the following stars are in some stage of negotiation: Johnny Depp playing the Wolf, Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal as the princes of Rapunzel and Cinderella, Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife, James Corden as The Baker, Meryl Streep as The Witch, and Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. Quite the lineup if you ask me! Also, Rob Marshall, who directed the Oscar-winning film Chicago, is slated to direct.
It seems to me that films like this—ones that take a very well-known musical with a hyper-devoted following and put it on screen—usually appeal to only one audience, either the film crowd or the theatre crowd, but rarely both. In order to make money at the box office, filmmakers are now padding the cast with Hollywood A-listers. It seems to me that this will further entice moviegoers to see it, but in the long run as the trend continues, it will alienate the theatre crowd. Though there is obviously a lot more money in getting movie buffs to the movies than getting theatre buffs to the movies.
It remains to be seen how much of the original Stephen Sondheim music from the stage production makes it into the film, or how much the actors will sing. Rest assured, though, that if the film makes money (and with a cast like that, it will), it’s only a matter of time before we see Russell Brand taking on the role of Rum Tum Tugger.