Acclaimed director Stephen Sondheim has opened up about the full cast recording for 'Anyone Can Whistle', explaining the musical nature of the show and the tremendous amount of cast members involved.
It's taken a long time for this stage musical to make it to the big screen, and while director Rob Marshall once again fails to give the story a sharp focus (see also Chicago and Nine), he at least lets the music and characters shine. Originally staged on Broadway in 1987, this musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is a gleeful mash-up of fairy tales that continues on past the "happily ever after", eventually turning rather dark and emotional.
Once upon a time, there was a Baker and his Wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt) who learn that they can't have children because the Witch (Meryl Streep) next door has cursed them. She offers to break the spell if they collect a cow, a cape, a slipper and a lock of hair. Meanwhile, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) annoys his mother (Tracey Ullman) by selling the family cow for a handful of "magic" beans; Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) dodges a leery Wolf (Johnny Depp) following her through the woods; Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) sneaks to the festival to meet the Prince (Chris Pine) against the wishes of her nasty stepmum (Christine Baranski); and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) defies her mother by letting her hair down for a Prince (Billy Magnussen). After knotting together, each plot strand resolves happily. Until the next day.
This is very much a story of two halves, with the sharp, snappy, hilarious first act contrasting strongly against the rather disturbingly grim and grisly second act, as everyone's story unravels to reveal each character's deep neediness. What makes this show so clever is the way it undermines the usual fairy-tale happiness of most stories, cautioning that this artifice is actually a problem for children. While the songs are all clever and thoroughly engaging, none of them is particularly hummable on first listen, but each is packed with witty wordplay and serious subtext that gets under the skin.
Continue reading: Into the Woods Review
She describes her character as 'unpolished and neurotic and modern'.
There's no question that Anna Kendrick has re-invented the character of Cinderella for fairytale musical 'Into The Woods', and while it has drawn both criticism and praise, she herself is grateful to have had the opportunity.
Anna Kendrick is Cinderella in 'Into The Woods'
The purpose of the Rob Marshall directed movie was to put across that there's flaws in everybody, even those childhood characters we so adore. In 'Into The Woods', we see each character drawn in by the magic of the woods with the determination for their wish to come true - despite what the consequences may be. When it comes down to Cinderella, a character known for her unwavering kindness, it could've been difficult to make her real; imperfect and often obsessive.
Continue reading: Anna Kendrick On 'Into The Woods' Role: I'm An Emotional Accountant
Anna Kendrick's brilliant vocals impress the cast of 'Into The Woods'.
Chris Pine likens seeing 'Into The Woods' co-star Anna Kendrick singing to 'watching a martial artist', as he admits that the musical task for the production of the film was nowhere near as simple as it would appear.
Chris Pine plays Cinderella's Prince Charming
It seems that none of the cast of 'Into The Woods' were particularly overwhelmed with confidence at the prospect of singing Stephen Sondheim's spectacular tunes - except perhaps Meryl Streep, who showed off her fabulous pipes back in 2008 with 'Mamma Mia!' Being more focused on acting than singing, it was nerve-wracking for the stars to say the least, and according to Chris Pine it didn't appear to get any easier once inside the studio.
James Corden 'gobsmacked' by Meryl Streep's rendition of 'Last Midnight'.
James Corden and Emily Blunt play the cursed Baker and his wife in 'Into The Woods'
Ok, so we already knew Meryl Streep had some pretty impressive pipes on her following her spectacular performance in 'Mammi Mia!' which, understandably, was then nominated for a Grammy award for Best Soundtrack, but 'Into The Woods' is something else. It's one thing being able to knock out a pop hit, it's another to reach impossible heights in emotional show tunes; co-star James Corden insists she's done just that.
Stephen Sondheim and Barbara Cook - The New York Premiere of the HBO documentary Six By Sondheim, held at the Museum of Modern Art - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 19th November 2013