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Right now, construction is underway at Shepperton Studios outside London for the film adaptation of "Into The Woods," the long-running musical hit by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, and with the film due in theaters for the holiday season in 2014, they're already starting the promotional push.
Meryl Streep is set to play The Witch in the film, one of the central roles in the piece, and Disney sent over the first photo of her in costume today. If you're not familiar with the musical, The Witch lives next door to The Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt), who are desperate to have a child. The Witch has cursed them, though, so they will never have a child unless they help her find the ingredients that she requires for a spell that will restore her former beauty. She sends them on a quest to find "the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold."
It seems like post-modern fairy tale stories have become commonplace in the last few years. Bill Willingham's brilliant comic series "Fables," the ABC series "Once Upon A Time In Wonderland" and the new spinoff one-season series set in Wonderland, Disney's "Tangled," the "Shrek" movies… they're all about refiguring these stories that we know so well and setting them in a new context. "Into The Woods" predates all of them, and it's a pretty amazing score. If they get this film right, it could be a really wonderful experience for audiences.
Rob Marshall is directing the film, and I think there's going to have to be a fair amount of adaptation to turn it into a film. The musical has some fairly dark corners, and with them casting Johnny Depp as The Wolf and Lilla Crawford as Red Riding Hood, I can't imagine they're going to keep "Hello, Little Girl" the same as it was onstage. That is one seriously freaky song full of sexual entendre, and I can't imagine it being sung by a 50-year-old man to a 12-year-old girl.
"Into The Woods" is set for release on December 25, 2014.