Bad news, Into The Woods fans: one of the best songs from the entire musical has been scrapped because sex. Here's hoping you weren't excited about Emily Blunt and Chris Pine singing "Any Moment," because it's gone. Also Rapunzel doesn't die.
In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Stephen Sondheim met with a group of drama teachers to talk all things Sondheim and the stage. Instead, he shattered all their hearts with these reveals about the upcoming Disney adaptation of the beloved musical Into The Woods.
"You will find in the movie that Rapunzel does not get killed, and the prince does not sleep with the baker's wife," he said.
The teachers gasped, but Sondheim shrugged. "You know, if I were a Disney executive I would probably say the same thing," he said.
A teacher asked what would happen to the song "Any Moment" if the baker's wife remained chaste. "Don't say the song is cut."
"The song is cut."
The teachers cried out in despair.
"I'm sorry, I should say, it's probably cut," Sondheim said.
"Stick up for that song!" a teacher called out.
"I did, I did," Sondheim said. "But Disney said, we don't want Rapunzel to die, so we replotted it. I won't tell you what happens, but we wrote a new song to cover it."
Look, it's his baby, so he can feel free to let Disney mutilate Into The Woods all he wants. That is life.
But personally, I'm distraught. Not because this is in abomination, but because I really wanted to see Chris Pine sing "Any Moment." He has a great sort of dickish charm about him that really works for Cinderella's Prince. And, most importantly, this song is just the best song, the best song. THE BEST SONG.
Who hasn't sung, "thisisridiculouswhatamidoinghereiminthewrongstoooooooory" to themselves? It's a classic. This is mostly thanks to the phenomenal Joanna Gleason (who won a Tony for her performance in the classic musical). And it sets up "Moments in the Woods," which is just another fantastic song. What's going to happen to the "Was that me? Was that him? Did a Prince really kiss me?" setup? This is a huge character moment for the Baker's Wife. HUGE. ARGH, I'm so mad about this.
The whole charm of this musical is the sexual crossovers, bad deeds and devious dealings. These characters aren't perfect people, and they didn't get to their happily ever after without a little magic, seduction or flat-out lying. Basically, they make bad decisions. So why would they stop after the book closed? It's an exciting tale that humanizes fantasy creatures in the best way possible, by watching them deal with the consequences of the wishes they make. But now it seems like Disney is taking all the decision-making and repercussions out of the show.
Yes, I'm glad Johnny Depp (the Big Bad Wolf) isn't going to be harassing the very young Lila Crawford (Red Riding Hood), because the casting decisions would have made that AWFUL. But again, the casting decision forever changed the whole dynamic of that dangerous fairy tale world that was setup ever after.
And now Rapunzel isn't going to die. This also cuts all the fire and sadness out of the song "Witch's Lament," which twists into a dastardly sad version of "Children Will Listen" because her child is dead! It also undercuts "Last Midnight." But don't worry, one of the songs Sondheim penned to replace the many cut songs is called "Rainbows." RAINBOWS.
The more I hear about the Into the Woods movie, the more bummed out I get. At this point I have to wonder if any character will die at all. I swear, if the narrator survives, I will rip put all of my hair.
EDIT UPDATE: Thanks to you guys pointing this out I now have a NEW fear. There may not even be a narrator! Simon Russell Beale has been cast as "the Baker's Father" but it says nothing of narrator. So great.