Rob Marshall Headed Into The Woods

Sondheim musical getting movie treatment

After a brief, critically mauled but financially successful side trip into blockbuster franchise territory with the last Pirates Of The Caribbean outing, Rob Marshall is looking to get back into more familiar waters with a possible new project. He's setting up a film version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s classic musical Into The Woods.

Woods finds Sondheim being typically playful with form, character and storytelling, blending together several fairytale icons including Cinderella, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood into the story of a baker desperate to have a family with his wife. And a little boy lost in the woods. And a giant. And a whole mess of happy endings undone and redone by the finale.

Marshall apparently hit upon the idea when slaving away in the post-production mines of Pirates, and decided to approach Lapine and then Jerry Bruckheimer and the Disney team about working on it.

“We talked about the meaning of it and how timely it is still, and about family – that’s always at the core of our lives,” he tells the Hollywood Reporter. “James said: ‘But I don’t want to put it in development for another 10 years.’” Marshall and Sondheim have a history: the former choreographer worked on A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and Company in the 1990s.

“He’s a genius when it comes to his score,” Marshall says. “But what’s so extraordinary is, he really understands all the elements of theatre – the choreography, the book and the production design – and has an amazing sense of the whole.”

Right now, Woods is at an early stage and it’ll jockey for position in Marshall’s professional affection with the remake of The** Thin Man** he’s been developing with Johnny Depp and Billy Ray.Still, with songs as funny as this one (one prince has been chasing Cinderella; the other romancing Rapunzel) surely it has a strong case to go next.