Stage director, filmmaker, playwright, and screenwriter – James Lapine clearly is a man of pure talent. The musical Into the Woods began here in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 from the book by James Lapine and included lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Combining the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella and others take viewers on a music journey with songs like “Hello, Little Girl” sung by the Big Bad Wolf, “A Very Nice Prince” sung by Cinderella and “Giants in the Sky” sung by Jack to name a few.
Lapine has received awards such as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Sunday in the Park with Gorge, a Tony Award for Best Book Musical for Falsettos and Passion. He also received a Tony Award for Into the Woods in 1988. In 2010, Lapine was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame and deservedly so.
His family is equally talented as Lapine is married to Screenwriter/director Sarah Kernochan who wrote the film IMPROMPTU. Daughter Phoebe Lapine is the creator and author of a blog on healthy comfort food and ‘kitchen confessions’ called Feed Me Phoebe which you can read more about at www.feedmephoebe.com.
When not creating drama for the stage, Lapine has also directed the films EARTHLY POSESSIONS with Susan Sarandon for television, LIFE WITH MIKEY with Michael J. Fox and IMPROMPTU with Judy Davis and Mandy Patinkin.
In 2014, Rob Marshall along with the script written by Lapine brought everyone the opportunity to share in the excitement on the big screen with Disney.
This clearly is a very busy man so imagine my thrill at having the opportunity to speak with him about INTO THE WOODS that arrives in stores this Tuesday on Bluray. The disc includes to much with Never-Before-Seen Sondheim Original: She’ll Be Back performed by Meryl Street and an introduction by Rob Marshall, The Cast As Good As Gold – The film’s stars share the experience of taking this epic musical journey, Deeper Into the Woods – four pieces on the making of the film, including The Magic of the Woods, Filmmaker Commentary, Music & Lyrics and so much more!
Thank you for talking with us today James about INTO THE WOODS!
You’re so welcome.
We are so excited about the Bluray release. How about you?
It’s so nice to have the movie and to have it now come to Bluray.
How did you feel about having INTO THE WOODS taken from stage to screen?
I couldn’t be happier really. It had already been optioned once before and I didn’t get to write the script. I couldn’t have been happier to have the opportunity to write this and was thrilled.
What did you think of the casting choices?
Oh my gosh I love the cast! I mean when someone calls you up and says you are getting Meryl Streep – what’s not to like.
I think that would have been the first thing that made me fall out of my chair!
She was the first one that signed on and when people hear that Meryl Streep is in a movie, other actors want to be in that movie. We were really lucky to have her join on and throw her support behind this movie.
And to have all of them singing your beautiful songs!
I know! What I love what Rob Marshall did is that he cast real singers.
And Meryl’s song is added onto the Bluray?
I saw Meryl’s song there which is really exciting.
When they came to you and said ‘hey, we want to do this film’ and Disney is behind it, how does that make you feel.
I have such a long history with Disney. I can’t seem to get away from them <laughing> but I’ve done a number of projects with them. They were so supportive and lovely and I love to think of myself as part of the Disney family. It was exciting and great!
Have you had a chance to speak to the cast about what’s on the Bluray?
I know that Meryl is particularly thrilled to know that her song that was cut from the movie will have a life on the Bluray.
Meryl has such an interesting voice.
She has a spectacular voice.
You don’t expect it from her.
I know, she is extraordinary really. I said to her ‘I didn’t know you could sing like this?’ and she said, ‘no one ever asked me to sing like this’. She’s just a remarkable sing, truly amazing.
Did Emily Blunt surprise you with her voice because it surprised me!
I had no idea she could sing. Meryl is a theatre person so I knew she could sing of course. I didn’t know anything about how wonderful Emily could sing. I also knew James Corden sang.
Anna Kendrick, does she not have the sweetest voice?
Are you ready for this? I had Anna Kendrick audition for Red Riding Hood in the revival of INTO THE WOODS. I almost cast her too and it’s ironic that she’s playing Cinderella.
I haven’t had the chance to see the musical on stage, and I want to now. For someone like me who hasn’t seen the stage production, is the film INTO THE WOODS much difference for you?
I think spiritually they are the same. There are little things that are different but no, in all honesty, the film is very respectful of our stage show.
I agree! There was some nervousness about it but it all turned out just fine.
It’s beautifully done, the casting is spectacular, the costumes are stunning, and the music is brilliant so, in other words you are an amazing human being!
Well, you’ve just made my day. I didn’t know I am amazing but thanks!
Congratulations with the success of the film and thank you again for spending time with us!
You are so welcome!
And that’s how it’s done! Disney has brought Marshall, Lapine and Sondheim from stage to screen and now Bluray. How should you celebrate? There is only one way to do it properly. Gather up the family and have a wonderful world of Disney family night filled with songs and fun that can be shared.
It’s an amazing opportunity and definitely a bonus to add to the family library. INTO THE WOODS is now a part of classic Disney that will be shared for years to come!