It’s no surprise that Disney’s upcoming adaptation of “Into the Woods” will be less dark than its source material, but the pic will also feature major plot changes.
Composer Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the music and lyrics for the less-than-chipper 1987 musical reimagining of classic fairy tales, revealed the new plot details during a recent speaking engagement with high school drama teachers.
To make the pic more family-friendly, Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) will not die. The film will also be less sexual as Cinderella’s Prince (Chris Pine) won’t sleep with the Baker’s Wife (Emily Blunt) and the relationship between Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Depp) and Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) won’t be sexually laced.
According to Playbill, one of the teachers at the event said he is considering putting on a production of “Into the Woods,” but is concerned about the lascivious relationship between Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.
“You’ll be happy to know that Disney had the same objections,” Sondheim said. “You will find in the movie that Rapunzel does not get killed and the prince does not sleep with the [Baker's Wife] … You know, if I were a Disney executive, I probably would say the same thing.”
This means that the song “Any Moment” performed during Prince Charming and the Baker’s Wife’s tryst will “probably” be cut. It’s unclear what will happen to “Lament,” which the Witch (Meryl Streep) sings after Rapunzel dies, and “Moments in the Woods,” which the Baker’s Wife’s belts out after the Prince leaves. The film will feature two new songs that Sondheim penned with James Lapine.
A teacher then asked how to respond to high school students frustrated with performing edited, PG versions of plays.
“You have to explain to them that censorship is part of our puritanical ethics and it’s something that they’re going to have to deal with,” Sondheim responded. “There has to be a point at which you don’t compromise anymore, but that may mean that you won’t get anyone to sell your painting or perform your musical. You have to deal with reality.”
The movie, directed by Rob Marshall, hits theaters on December 25.
Sondheim released a statement to Playbill saying that he was misquoted in the original New Yorker article in which he spoke about “Into the Woods’” plot alterations. Here it is below:
“An article in The New Yorker misreporting my ‘Master Class’ conversation about censorship in our schools with seventeen teachers from the Academy for Teachers a couple of weeks ago has created some false impressions about my collaboration with the Disney Studio on the film version of Into the Woods. The fact is that James (Lapine, who wrote both the show and the movie) and I worked out every change from stage to screen with the producers and with Rob Marshall, the director. Despite what the New Yorker article may convey, the collaboration was genuinely collaborative and always productive.
When the conversation with the teachers occurred, I had not yet seen a full rough cut of the movie. Coincidentally, I saw it immediately after leaving the meeting and, having now seen it a couple of times, I can happily report that it is not only a faithful adaptation of the show, it is a first-rate movie.
And for those who care, as the teachers did, the Prince’s dalliance is still in the movie, and so is ‘Any Moment.’”