I was surprised when I heard that Rob Marshall was making a film of Into the Woods. I listen to the cast recording of the original broadway cast as frequently as anything, and I’ve become very attached to these renditions of some of Sondheim’s best songs. I’m a little nervous. Marshall, I think, did a great job on Chicago, but that material was far more straight-forward and better made for the movie-star cast that seems to be required in filmed musicals. Chicago is sexy, and Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifa, and even Renee Zellweger can do sexy.
But can the A-list cast that Marshall has assembled give credible interpretations of the characters while delivering worthy renditions of these funny and moving songs? We’ll see. In this post and a few that will follow, I’ll dive into a few of the characters and discuss how likely we are to get a good performance from the actress playing the role. I’ll start with Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife.
Emily Bunt is great. She’s clearly smart and has a beauty and emotive capacity that few others possess. I have little doubt that she’ll have a compelling take on the most complex character in the play/movie. My concern is her sining. The below clip has what appears to be the only on-screen singing she’s done (her singing starts at 0:46).
Not bad. In fact, pretty good. But then there’s…
I can listen to Joanna Gleason sing “… Don’t forget it for a moment, though” on continuous loop pretty much forever.
So we can’t really expect Emily Blunt to bring the same vocal chops to the role, and that might be particularly noticeable when the character has her turn at Children Will Listen.
But while I have concerns, I think this is going to go really well. I expect Blunt to take the assignment seriously and make the role her own. These songs have enormous depth, and a really good actress with a decent voice should do just fine. I love this role, and I’m looking forward to seeing her in it.