Tony Nominee Billy Magnussen in Talks for Into the Woods Film Adaptation
By Michael Gioia
Billy Magnussen, who was nominated for a 2013 Tony Award for his performance in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, is in talks to join the cast of the Walt Disney Pictures film adaptation of Into the Woods — the dark, Tony Award-winning fairytale musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine — according to Deadline.com.
Magnussen is in final negotiations to play Rapunzel's Prince, the role that was to be played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Off-Broadway's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, "Brokeback Mountain," "Source Code"), who dropped out to star in the indie movie "Nightcrawler."
Previous casting reports indicate that Emily Blunt may play the Baker's Wife, with Meryl Streep to play the Witch, "Sweeney Todd" star Johnny Depp to portray the Wolf and Tony Award winner James Corden (One Man, Two Guvnors) likely to portray the Baker.
Young actor Daniel Huttlestone, who starred as Gavroche in Tom Hooper's film of "Les Misérables," has been tapped to portray Jack, with Tracey Ullman in talks to play Jack's Mother.
Chris Pine, seen on the New York stage in The Atheist, is in talks to play Cinderella's Prince with Tony and Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick ("Pitch Perfect") as Cinderella. Tony Award winner Christine Baranski (Hurlyburly, The Real Thing, "Mamma Mia!") is also in negotiations for the film – she was part of a reading of the screenplay adaptation of Into the Woods last fall, where she played Cinderella's Stepmother.
Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Into the Woods book writer James Lapine authored the screenplay based on his own book for the 1988 musical that has a score by Stephen Sondheim. During an October reading of the screenplay, Lapine had streamlined the musical into a two-hour treatment for the screen.
"Into the Woods" is expected to begin filming in London this September towards a Dec. 25, 2014, in-theatre arrival.
Into the Woods features a Tony-winning score by Sondheim and Tony-winning book by Lapine, who also staged both Broadway productions of the musical. Into the Woods premiered on Broadway in 1987 at the Martin Beck Theatre starring Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, Joanna Gleason, Kim Crosby and Robert Westenberg. The original cast performance was preserved by PBS' American Playhouse in 1991. A 2002 Broadway revival played the Broadhurst Theatre.
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