The latest word around the campfire is that Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain) and Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) are in talks to play the Prince Charmings in the multiple Tony award-winning musical coming to the big screen, Into The Woods.
With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, Into The Woods premiered in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and Broadway the following year, winning several Tonys (including Best Score, Best Book, Best Actress in a Musical – Joanna Gleason) in a year when everyone thought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera would crush all in its path.
Into The Woods is a show I’m VERY familiar with; having been in a production as Red Riding Hood’s Grandma and the voice of the Giant’s wife (Jack and The Beanstalk), I can also say without pause that ITW is also my second fave Sondheim musical (Company being the first) and can still sing songs from its score at the drop of a hat.
For those of you not familiar with Into The Woods, here’s the short version.
Wanting to start a family, The Baker and his wife venture into the woods to find four ingredients their neighbor (an ugly old witch) tells them she needs to make a potion in order to break a curse placed on the Baker’s family line after his father was caught stealing from the Witch’s garden.
Throughout the show, their paths intersect with Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and The Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella and others. Everything goes as it should for the aforementioned characters in act one but what makes Into The Woods fun is act two, which poses the question: “What happens AFTER ‘Happily Ever After’?”
While Pine and Gyllenhaal have the matinee-idol good looks to play the Prince Charmings, their signature song, Agony, isn’t a song you can sing/talk your way out of; the men MUST be strong tenors who can hit falsetto AND harmonize as well as HILARIOUSLY vain at the same time.
Okay, you need a taste, right? Here’s Agony from acts one and two, where the Princes share their woes of love whilst pursuing their “true loves” Cinderella and Rapunzel in act one…
Then Sleeping Beauty and Snow White (whilst still married to C and R) in act two…
I’ve never heard either Pine or Gyllenhaal sing before so who knows? They could surprise the whole world.
But if I’m allowed to throw a couple more names in the ring who I know CAN sing, it’s these guys…
That’s right, I went there. Ryan Reynolds CAN sing, has matinee-idol looks AND knows comedic roles like Prince Charming like the back of his hand.
And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris.
The guy’s been doing musical/dramatic roles on Broadway since 2001 when he played the role of Tobias in the concert performances of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (which I’ve seen) and other Sondheim classics (Assassins and Evening Primrose), so in MY mind, he knows the lyrical intricacies and nuances that make a Sondheim show complete.
Think about it; if Pine and Gyllenhaal are a wash, Reynolds and NPH are PERFIK for the roles.
Because I’m already skeptical (and a little peeved) that Meryl Streep was cast as The Witch over Broadway darling (AND originator of the role) Bernadette Peters, I’m less jazzed about the outcome but knowing Rob Marshall’s previous success with his stage to screen adaptation of Chicago, who knows? He could prove me wrong…but at this point I’m still mad that he didn’t cast Peters.
Nothing is set in stone as of yet, so who knows what may actually happen.
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