Disney's Into The Woods Finds A New Prince

Billy Magnussen replaces Jake Gyllenhaal

Billy Magnussen

Disney's Into The Woods casting travails seem to have been resolved, albeit in a slightly unexpected way. The Rob Marshall musical was first due to star Jake Gyllenhaal as Rapunzel's prince. The actor since dropped out, citing a scheduling clash with indie thriller Nightcrawler, clearing the way for Billy Magnussen to step into those regal breeches.

You may have come across the young actor in Whit Stillman’s Damsels In Distress, in which he played doofus undergrad Thor, and a couple of episodes of Boardwalk Empire, but he's a relatively new face and perhaps a surprising choice to help headline a big Disney musical. Maybe it's that Thor connection?

The film will adapt Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Broadway musical, finding James Corden as a childless baker, who attempts to lift a family curse by journeying into the woods with his wife to confront the witch (Meryl Streep) that put the spell on them. Along the way, they encounter Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack And The Beanstalk's Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and other classic characters. Johnny Depp is the big bad wolf, obviously.

Even shorn of Gyllenhaal, it's a seriously marketable proposition. Marshall, the awful Nine aside, has serious pedigree with the genre and Streep, Depp, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt offer star wattage. As Disney's top dogs announced recently, we'll all be tiptoeing Into The Woods on Christmas Day 2014.