Saturday, July 6, 2013

Into the Script Of "Into the Woods"

I just found someone online who says* he got the chance to read a recent version of the Into The Woods movie script (from February) and posted the changes/differences to the Broadway play.

I know a lot of people feel that Into the Woods is holy ground (almost) and are going to have problems with ANY changes that happen but please remember these things:

1) A live show/stage musical/Broadway production is a COMPLETELY different medium to a movie. Changes must be made in order to change mediums and not kill the property (ie story).

This, which looks fantastic on the stage from the audience perspective...

...will look mighty tacky on screen if they film it as is.

2) Remember that the script is being carefully reworked by the original writer for the Broadway play, James Lapine - meaning that you know he's going to fight to keep his work - and story - looking the best it possibly can as it transitions to a movie.

3) Lapine has written multiple award winning musicals AND books (so he understands the difference in writing as a playwright and writing as an author and knows he will have to approach a screenplay differently again) and he's interested in telling the best story he can, via whatever medium he's working in.

3) There are movie musical greats working with him - they know what works on screen for a musical and what doesn't.

4) Sondheim, who composed Into the Woods, is also composing for the movie - and altering and layering and scoring - all with the same mentality as the writer: he wants his work to look/sound better than ever.

*This is from a blog of a guy named "Phil" who works (worked?) in primetime TV and is somewhat "insider connected". I don't know him personally but a quick little bit of research would say that what he claims is likely true. :)

Here's the intro from Phil's post a couple of weeks ago:
So I’ve read it.
I’ve read the Into the Woods film script (well, at least a draft from February)... Suffice to say I’m immensely happy with the direction they are going in and the casting so far has been great.
If you do not want to know anything about the movie before it hits the screen HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.

If you adore the Broadway play and know you're going to be upset by any changes (remember seeing the points on a page will be very different to watching it as a movie) HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!

For this reason I will post the rest after the jump...
 ✒ ✒ ✒  ✒ (click the "Read more" link below this line) ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ 

SCRIPT & SONG CHANGES  > > >  (so far...)

-"I Guess This Is Goodbye Old Friend" "Maybe They’re Really Magic" “Ever After" “Act II Opening" “Agony (Reprise) and “No More" have been cut. The only cut that hurts is the latter, but it is replaced with a dialogue scene between The Baker and his father. 
-Speaking of which, there is no Narrator or Mysterious Man. The Baker narrates the opening song and the father, who appears during the Witch’s Rap, reappears after “Last Midnight" 
-"Last Midnight" ends as it did in the Central Park production, which I’m ecstatic and terrified to see again. 
-Rapunzel no longer is crushed by the Giant, she runs away from her Prince and the Witch instead. 
-In “I Know Things Now" Red says “Nice is better than good" instead of “Nice is different than good." It is such a tiny change, but the impact is huge and I don’t like it. 
-"I Know Things Now" and “Giants in the Sky" are both sung to The Baker by Red and Jack, respectively. 
-Many of the songs are literally interpreted through flashbacks. For example, we actually see Red in the Wolf’s stomach coming upon Granny. 
-The beginning of “Lament" is there and transitions into a new song from Sondheim. Unfortunately, the song lyrics are not in the script. 
-The Baker is really the protagonist here, more so then I’ve ever seen him. I sincerely hope the negotiations with James Corden work out, because he is so perfect. 
-I adore the section of “Children Will Listen" with “How do you say…?" It’s unfortunately not in this draft. 
-It’s quite faithful to the originally libretto and the alterations are fantastic 
-The Witch is definitely a supporting role and Meryl will chew up the screen 
I wish it were Christmas 2014!
So there you have it. Thoughts?

Remember this is one person's thoughts on a script which will likely be changed (again-again) before it gets shot. In the end you have to judge the movie on its own merits so we shall see...

Here's an apt quote for the task the movie's creative team:

"Into the woods, but mind the past. 

Into the woods, but mind the future." 
(Sondheim, "Into the Woods")

Source: Phil


  1. How did the Central Park "Last Midnight" end? I have yet to see it.

    1. The arms of The Witch's mother pull her down into the ground as she screams.