Our fears, which were many, are at last fading over the upcoming film adaptation of the great Sondheim musical Into the Woods. The latest trailer, which finally gives us some actual singing, shows a depth the previous glimpses into the Disney film had lacked.
Historically, adapting Sondheim for film has proven tricky, and there was plenty of reason to be wary when Disney decided to adapt Sondheim’s 1988 stage musical. Into the Woods is a complex, postmodern interweaving of classic fairy tales, told from a very adult, very ’80s standpoint of morality, choices, and consequences. Early on, news that the Disney version was excising several main songs and plot points drew massive alarm from fans, and resulted in Sondheim having to issue a statement to clarify that things weren’t quite as bad as all that.
Even so, as it stands, the film adaptation of Into the Woods is arriving without one of the film’s cornerstone songs and the undoing of one major character death. And the roles of Cinderella’s prince and Little Red’s wolf, which have significantly always been played by the same actor in a fantastic moment of symbolism, have been split up in the film between the ever-bland Chris Pine and the oversaturated Johnny Depp. And up until now, the looks we’ve gotten at the film itself didn’t give us much to go on.
But finally we’ve gotten a trailer with more than a hint of music and an actual look at the plot. This one actually contains the familiar main theme, as well as the haunting “Stay With Me.” As performed by Meryl Streep, it’s actually downright creepy as well as beautiful, which gives us hope that this adaptation might manage to keep most of its dark, subversive aspects intact despite its Disneyfication. It’s also worth noting that while we didn’t know Emily Blunt could sing, we can’t wait to see her performance as the Baker’s Wife, a role which won originator Joanna Gleason a Tony on Broadway. And kudos to Chris Pine for pulling off “charming, not sincere.” This film might just win us over yet.
Screengrab via YouTube