Monday, September 16, 2013

Breaking Casting News: "Into the Woods" Swaps Reds

Little Red Riding Hood by George Sheridan Knowles (1863 – 1931, English)
So... although it had been confirmed by her agent that "YouTube sensation", and Ellen-darling Sophia Grace Brownlee would be starring in her first feature film role as Little Red Riding Hood for Disney's movie Into the Woods, now that filming has started on the movie, things have changed.

Just today (Monday September 16), it was confirmed that Sophia Grace will no longer be playing the controversial role and that Red's shoes would instead be filled by the (slightly older) Broadway actress, Lilla Crawford.

From Entertainment Weekly:
Much of the concern from fans about the ten-year-old Brownlee revolved around her age, as well as the fairly blatant subtext of the material she would have to perform, which included her seduction of sorts by Depp’s Wolf. Crawford, for her part, is just 12, so it’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made from the Broadway version of the material.
Although there is only a two year difference between the girls, I would have to agree that the difference between age ten and age twelve is pretty huge, with regard to many different areas of maturity. I would NOT say, however, that it's enough to offset the ick-factor*, unless Miss Crawford's Red is a very savvy twelve-ish year old and the script has changed enough to reflect that in a way we can get behind (and I don't mean in a Lolita way).

Either way, we should be feeling rather more confident of an excellent and nuanced performance from the Broadway star. Despite her youth, she has already wowed audiences and critics with her role as "Annie" in the new, Tony-award winning revival of the show.

While we, as fairy tale folk, have read so many variations on Red Riding Hood we've probably lost count - including those of savvy little girls and the less-than-savvy - the implications are no longer lyrical, metaphoric or hypothetical when you have a young actress required to live the lines of a preyed upon child. With Disney proudly hanging their brand name right on the front of this movie (instead of intentionally staying behind the scenes by using eg the Touchstone brand name or similar) I'm curious as to whether this aspect of Into the Woods will be addressed at all or if the story line will be rewritten to take all the teeth out of it so it can't sully the Disney name in terms of subject matter association.

My cynical side is wondering if all this isn't just a, rather staged, publicity stunt... If it is, it's working. People are talking, and they're watching for what the results will be.
*Columbian artist Rossina Bossio painted THIS rather disturbing painting of a young Red, which, despite being considered "Art" I would say is NOT SAFE FOR WORK AND IS RATHER DISTURBING - probably as it was meant to be.

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