In the film, the character of Cinderella, who wishes to go to the King’s Festival, is more modern, complicated and flawed than the iconic character with whom audiences are most familiar. Anna Kendrick, whose credits include “Pitch Perfect” and “Up in the Air” and who was cast as Cinderella, was attracted to the role because she is different from the archetypal portrayal of the fairy tale persona.
“What is unique is that this ‘Cinderella’ story comes directly from the Grimm version where the tree at the grave of her Mother gifts her the dress and shoes that she wears to the Festival,” she says, “So in some ways she has access to a kind of magic when she really needs it.”
Kendrick continues, “What happens after she marries the Prince is where it gets interesting: Cinderella really starts to find her voice and rejects what she thought she wanted, which also means admitting she made a mistake. She is not a blameless victim though; she has to own the fact that she wanted something so badly without really thinking about what it was she really needed.”
In discussing how he envisioned the part, director Rob Marshall says, “I was looking for something very specific, which was a combination of humor, a strong voice and a modern sensibility. In many ways, Cinderella is the most complex character in the piece because she can’t make a decision, constantly wavering about what she wants, and Anna showed a great deal of vulnerability and depth, which was incredibly impressive.”
For the role of Cinderella’s Prince, who longs to find a bride, Chris Pine was cast. The actor, who is perhaps best-known to audiences as Capt. James T. Kirk from “Star Trek,” describes his character by saying, “The Prince is one of those characters that we all think we know, but in truth we don’t really know all that much about him.”
He continues, “One of my favorite lines in the script is when Cinderella tells him that he needs to step up to the plate and be a good King and his response is, ‘I was raised to be charming, not sincere,’ which basically sums up who he is.”
When screenwriter James Lapine wrote the part, he intended for the Prince to be the run-of-the-mill storybook character. “He has been raised to be a Prince, and that is all he knows…vulnerability is not part of his nature because he’s so used to getting everything he wants,” Lapine explains. “So to finally be rejected opens him up to his vulnerability and takes him from being a fairytale character to a more human scale.”
When Pine first came in to read for the part, Marshall had no idea as to his full range as an actor. “I didn’t know he could sing, I didn’t know he was funny, I didn’t know any of that,” he says. “I just knew he was a wonderful actor, extremely smart and an incredibly handsome man. And I quickly found out that he could do all of those things, and more.”
Kendrick was pleasantly surprised to see what a gifted comedian Pine was. “He is obviously very charming and handsome, but I loved that heplayed the Prince with such clever humor,” she says. “He may be momentarily thrown when things go awry, but then he just immediately launches back into the affected Prince voice and mannerisms, and it is very funny.”
“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them.
Opening across the Philippines on January 28, 2015, “Into the Woods” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.