Musical theater fans far and wide were overjoyed when they heard that the Sondheim classic was getting a big screen adaptation. Then they went apeshit when they got wind of the fact that there would be some plot changes in the film. With a trailer out and a Christmas Day release day set, the film's director, Rob Marshall, has come about to assuage any fears or misgivings.
"It's ironic that happened at all, because Steve's been part of every single step of this movie. And the truth is, we've been incredibly faithful to the original," Marshall, who also directed movies musicals Chicago and Nine, told EW. "I'm actually really impressed Disney's doing this film, because it's very brave. I don't feel we've watered it down in any way, shape, or form. We've just made it a film. But I never thought in terms of 'the Disney' of it all, ever. None of us did."
First and foremost, Marshall promises that the film hasn't bowdlerized any aspects of the story. So the Baker's Wife's affair, Rapunzel's untimely end, and the wolf are still in. "It's a very grown-up piece in many ways, and there's a lot of entertainment and a lot of fun to it," said Marshall. "But it doesn't shy away from any of those adult themes at all."
Most of the major changes are structural: the second act has been rework so the narrative can fit into a three-act structure. As for the music, "Ever After," the song which separates the play's two acts, has been made into an instrumental. Beyond that it's the same soundtrack that you know and love, despite Sondheim's having written a new song for Meryl Streep, that didn't make it into the final cut. "It was beautiful and spectacular," says Marshall. "But it was very clear, as good as the song was, that [the movie] was stronger without." Also "Rainbows," a duet between the Baker and his wife that Sondheim wrote for a film adaptation in the '90s that never was, will not be making an appearance.
As for the circulating rumors regarding reshoots, normally a death knell for any film, those were just rumors. Marshall and co. were actually shooting new scenes after they screened the movie for Disney--they've added to two character flashbacks.
"We built this thing using the best parts of Into the Woods, which is so much of it. So much of it is there and make it work on film," Marshall says. "It'll all be very clear when people see it. They'll understand, it's all there."