My partner and I can spend hours fantasy casting screen adaptations of plays and musicals. The film version of August Osage County was our obsession for awhile; then we tried to figure out who we’d set as Jamie opposite Anna Kendrick in The Last Five Years movie. Lately our attention has turned to Sam Mendes’ upcoming version of the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical Into the Woods.
In the past few weeks it’s been revealed that Meryl Streep is set as The Witch, and Johnny Depp will be playing The Wolf; James Corden, a Tony Award-winner for One Man, Two Guv’nors, is rumored to be playing the Baker, with The Devil Wears Prada‘s Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife; the dashing Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal are said to be “in talks” to play Cinderella and Rapunzel’s Princes, who sing the great song “Agony”; and Christine Baranski is hoping to play Cinderella’s stepmother if she can work around her The Good Wife schedule. I love all of these choices, particularly Blunt as The Baker’s Wife; though the brilliant Joanna Gleason, the original Baker’s Wife on Broadway, casts a very long shadow, I think Blunt may be able to dazzle in my favorite role in the show.
Even with all that we already know, there are some pretty crucial parts yet to be cast — namely Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. Let the fantasy casting commence!
The charming innocence of The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s Logan Lerman would make him perfect for Jack, but I have no idea if he has the singing voice to pull off “Giants in the Sky.” My partner is convinced they’ll go with Les Miserables‘ Aaron Tveit, but I think he’s too close in age to Pine and Gyllenhaal. (Though let’s be honest — if age was a true consideration, the 60-something Streep would probably not be playing The Witch.) Daniel Radcliffe, who showed he can do musical comedy on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, might be an inspired choice for the boy who climbs the beanstalk, but I’m actually leaning toward one of the Glee boys — either Darren Criss or Chris Colfer. We know they can sing the part, and they’ve convincingly played teenagers on TV. I think either could be great in the role.
It would be easy to continue in that vein and suggest Lea Michele as Little Red Riding Hood, but that actually feels too on-the-nose to me. The part requires more sass, humor and attitude then singing chops, so what about Kick Ass‘ Chloe Moretz? Little Miss Sunshine‘s Abigail Breslin? Or even Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland, who was actually in the Broadway musical Grey Gardens before appearing on the Emmy-winning show?
Cinderella is a toughie — she’s got to be strong yet vulnerable, and have a great soprano voice. Amy Adams, who was horribly disappointing as The Baker’s Wife this past summer in Central Park, could actually be an ideal Cinderella. So could Anne Hathaway, though she’s unlikely to tackle another musical role so close to her Oscar-winning turn in Les Miserables. I’d love to see Anna Kendrick, who I first fell in love with on Broadway in High Society and brilliantly crooning “Ladies Who Lunch” in the movie Camp, take it on, though will she be willing to do another musical so soon after The Last Five Years and Pitch Perfect?
So, if it came down to it, I think I’d choose Darren Criss as Jack, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Abigail Breslin as Little Red. Who would fill out the remaining roles in your dream Into the Woods cast? Let me know!
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