As well as sitting down with Into The Woods film director, Rob Marshall, and producer, John DeLuca, I had the pleasure of meeting Marc Platt, another producers of the film and producer of Broadway and West End sensation, Wicked. During our meeting at the Corinthia Hotel in Central London, Marc told me all about his work with Into The Woods and confirmed that Wicked will indeed be turned into a film! Marc also hinted he might want Broadway show If/Then to have a presence in London. Read the full interview below to find out more.
Congratulations with Into The Woods
I loved it!
Oh I am so glad!
Like your colleague Director Rob Marshall, You have had dalliances in both theatre and film, what does it feel like to marry the two together like in Into The Woods?
Well it is great, it takes all the things I like most and puts them into one. I love producing musicals, I love producing movies. Getting to produce a musical film is a treat and a joy and combines all my interests!
You are the producer of one of my favourite Broadway and West End musicals, Wicked, which is also a dark fairy-tale. Do you draw comparisons between the two musicals?
They are different in their personalities and their origins. What might be similar is that they are both retelling of familiar characters. You are watching characters you know take unexpected turns in each of the stories. However their personalities, their textures, their musicality is so very different.
Did you have any idea that Wicked was going to be so huge?
I don’t think you can ever predict a phenomenon. I started developing Wicked as a film. I had the rights to Wicked, I was turning it into a film and I was not happy with what I had. There was something missing in the world I was trying to create and I realised it was music. That is when I went to Stephen Schwartz and he and I started the process of developing a musical version, a stage version. The rest is history. Now we are going to do a film.
Where is the film at at the moment?
The process has started. The bar for us is very high because the show experience in the theatre is so satisfying. It continues to break records. The bar is high, so we need to create a film version that is going to be as satisfying as the stage version but that is also unique as a film. We need to get to that point before we make that film, which is a good segway into Into The Woods. The challenge in any adaptation, particular where there are fans, is to remain faithfull enough to the source material but also deliver an experiencing that is as satisfying and unique in the new medium than the old one. Plays aren’t movies and movies aren’t plays. What makes it different and unique but still makes it feel like Into The Woods? We worked hard to strike that balance.
What is your favourite musical number in both Into The Woods and Wicked?
All of the songs in Into The Woods are like children to me! I have always probably carried “No One is Alone” with me the most because musically and lyrically it is so profound and moving. It is done so beautiful in the film.
In Wicked my favourite song varies from night to night. Most people love Defying Gravity or Popular. I have always been in love with a song that is a little less known, “I Couldn’t Be Happier” which Glinda sings at the beginning of Act 2. It is such an interesting journey of a public persona and then the music allowing her to sing what she is really feeling. It is about the price one has to pay for what they think they want. It has always moved me.
Who’s story resonates most with you both in Into the Woods?
I think what is fantastic about Into the Woods is that all the characters have pieces in them that we recognise. The Witch says to her child “stay with me, I need to protect you from the world.” Now I wouldn’t put my kids up in a tower but the instinct to want to protect my kids from the wolves and humans in the world is very apt. I relate to that. Little Red Riding Hood also says “Isn’t it nice to know a lot and a little bit not.” I think all of us grown ups can relate to that.
Yourself, Rob Marshall and John Deluca have all worked together before on the musical to movie adaption of Nine. Are there any lessons you learned making Nine that have helped you with Into The Woods.
I learned how much I love working with Rob Marshall and John DeLuca! They could call me and say they would like to do a film of the phone book, then I’d be in!
I think that we were harder on the material this time around and made sure the adaptation was as strong as it could be. Not that we didn’t do that on Nine but the process was just a bit different. We have learned how much we love working together and how hard but satisfying making a musical is. I hope we can do it again.
What about with Wicked?
Well we have Stephen Daldry as director, so we are going with that course.
Any casting ideas for Wicked?
Well I am not sure when exactly it is happening so I haven’t thought too much about it yet. It is about how the screen play is developed, which is in process now. Why who do you see in it?
Meryl would be a lovely Madame Morrible!
She would be! She does her Wicked Witch role in Into The Woods Though. She could play anybody. She could be Elphaba is she wanted to.
I read an article in the Metro this morning in Which Russell Crow cites Meryl as the leading example of longevity in the careers of females in the film industry. Do you agree?
Russell is right. Meryl is an actress not a movie star. There is a difference.
Who do you think was the best natural born singer in the Into The Woods cast?
They are all singers! They all have real instruments! Chris Pine can sing, who knew! We all knew that Anna Kendrick and Meryl could sing. Most importantly singing here comes from character but this is a group of actors that can really sing. Lucky us!
What is your favourite musical?
That is a hard one! It varies depending on my mood. I love West Side Story, the music is so glorious. In it’s time I was so blown away by A Chorus Line. It really depends on my mood. I loved Company. One of the best musicals I have ever seen was the original Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury. I saw it 13 times. I was so taken with the show and the design of the show at the Gershwin Theatre. Many years later when I was working on Wicked I went to the same theatre and got the same designer. He won a Tony Award for Sweeney Todd in 1979 and then won the next Tony for Wicked in 2003. The same theatre.
What is next for you? Any West End producing?
I have If/Then on Broadway and Wicked, I have a whole bunch of films coming out next year with Anne Hathaway and Meryl, a Stephen Spielberg movie. On the West End I would love something else here as well as Wicked.
I hope so! Thank you so much and congratulations again on the success of Into The Woods!
Thank you, Rebecca.
Into The Woods is out now in all UK Cinemas. Read our review here.