×

‘Into the Woods’ to Get Family-Friendly Disney Plot Changes

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.”

Popular on Variety

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.

UPDATE:

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.'”

More Film

  • Logan Paul Ninja Spree

    How Logan Paul and Ninja Helped 'Spree' Cast Capture Influencer Culture Gone Wild

    When it came to depicting the gonzo nature of influencer culture, “Spree” stars Joe Keery and Sasheer Zamata and director Eugene Kotlyarenko did a deep dive into the haves and have-nots of the internet. “Spree,” which premiered Friday at Sundance Film Festival, follows a rideshare driver named Kurt Kunkle (Keery) who will stop at nothing [...]

  • The Go Go's at Chicagofest in

    'The Go-Go's': Film Review

    In the terrific documentary “The Go-Go’s,” there’s a tasty clip of the band playing an early club gig in 1979, when they were part of the L.A. punk scene. They wear bushy black hair and pale white makeup (with rouge!), as if they were trying to be mannequin versions of Darby Crash, and they have [...]

  • A PERFECTLY NORMAL FAMILY

    Watch the Exclusive Trailer of Rotterdam/Goteborg Entry ‘A Perfectly Normal Family’

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the international trailer of the Danish film “A Perfectly Normal Family,” due to compete both at Rotterdam’s Big Screen Competition, and at Göteborg’s Nordic Film Competition. Malou Reyman’s debut feature has been a hot property for sales agent New Europe Film Sales, ever since it was sneak peeked [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life,' '1917' Shoot Past $100 Million

    Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are showing plenty of staying power at North American multiplexes with about $31 million for its second weekend, estimates showed Saturday. Sony’s third installment of the “Bad Boys” action comedy franchise is crossing the $100 million mark at the box office on Saturday, its ninth day of release, and will [...]

  • Dinner in America

    'Dinner in America': Film Review

    There are bits of “Repo Man,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and other literally or just philosophically “punk rock” cult comedies in the DNA of Adam Carter Rehmeier’s rude yet ingratiating “Dinner in America” — and mercifully none whatsoever here of his 2011 first feature “The Bunny Game,” a shrilly monotonous “extreme” horror for which all is now [...]

  • AtmosphereSundance Film Festival preperations, Park City,

    Sundance: Study Finds Lack of Inclusion at Film Festivals

    A study by the Time’s Up Foundation and USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has found that women and people of color are vastly underrepresented at film festivals worldwide. The new report, “Inclusion at Film Festivals,” examined the gender, race, and ethnicity of narrative film directors, film festival programmers, and executives from 2017-2019. The study was released [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content