The Wolf (Johnny Depp) and Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford)
Depp’s big bad Wolf—inspired by the zoot suit-wearing lothario in the 1940’s Tex Avery cartoon—was perhaps the filmmakers’ biggest challenge, considering he’s the sole animal in a film grounded in reality (or something like it). According to Depp, ”Rob Marshall wasn’t afraid to let me take the role to a level of heightened reality, almost cartoon-like, where one second the Wolf is here, and then, boom, suddenly he’s over there.”
The Baker (James Corden) and Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford)
Despite stealing a cape from a little girl, James Corden’s Baker represents the audience’s entry into the fantastical Woods. ”All of the other characters are from a fairy tale world, and the Baker and his wife are the everyman and everywoman,” Corden explains. ”I think Rob [Marshall] wanted someone who would represent the audience in that fashion, and I was very lucky.”
The Baker (James Corden), The Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt), and Jack (Daniel Huttlestone)
The importance of the cow—named Milky White—could not be understated in both plot and production. Four cows (Tug, Diamond, Two Fold, and Pearl) were used, and chocolate props were used for the scene when Milky White must eat the ingredients gathered by the Baker and his Wife. ”Once you’re in costume and running through woods dragging a real cow behind you that’s slightly different from the cardboard cut-out you rehearsed with, it was extraordinary,” recalls Blunt.
Concept art of The Woods
Production employed a tree scout but had a ringer in production designer Dennis Gassner, a former lumberjack. ”I would walk through Central Park and photograph trees, and it was really about informing ourselves visually because, tree by tree, each one has character and individuality,” says Gassner. ”Sondheim is a puzzlemaker, and so you’re going to be putting a puzzle together as intricate as the story and characters and songs, and that goes through with the design in every way.”
Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) and The Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt)
”I found the whole set was just so transporting, I thought it was magical,” says Blunt, whose character strikes up a kinship—and then a brief rivalry—with Kendrick’s princess. ”We shot nearly all of it onstage, but we definitely had scenes outside where you can’t tell the difference. They blend together beautifully.”
Cinderella's Prince (Chris Pine)
Pay close attention to Pine’s perfect hair as his prince careens through the woods. ”I sat in the makeup chair, and we started playing around with hairstyles,” said the actor. ”I said, ‘What if he had this weird Elvis pompadour, always coiffed and absurdly too big?”’ He continues, ”There’s something laughable about him. He’s very gallant, but you just want him to also be, like, a douche.”
Designer Colleen Atwood's sketch of Cinderella's Prince
Atwood pulled from various time periods—”days of olde, with an e,” she says—for all the costumes, but kept certain outfits in their familiar place, including the high romance look of Rapunzel and the Princes.
Cinderella (Anna Kendrick)
One of the benefits of translating the musical to film involved changing certain songs. For instance, Cinderella’s ”On the Steps of the Palace” now takes place in the present (instead of the past), complete with new lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. ”I felt lucky and terrified that Sondheim was handing me new lyrics,” shares Kendrick. ”I felt, like, Oh my God, he’s making history and I get to be here watching him change his own work for a movie adaptation.”
Cinderella's Stepmother (Christine Baranski, center) with evil stepsisters Lucinda (Lucy Punch) and Florinda (Tammy Blanchard)
Hair and makeup designer Peter King says that the actors took their characters immediately after getting into makeup. ”You’re sitting there, making them up, chatting, laughing, but by the time they come back in their costumes for touch-ups, they’re behaving completely differently,” says the design veteran. ”Christine was, completely then, the wicked stepmother.”
Concept art for The Palace
”There is a fairly muted color palette,” says cinematographer Dion Beebe. ”It was important for us to let the world feel grounded—that it didn’t feel fresh and new and shiny and sparkly, but had a slightly worn, old, ancient feel.”
The Baker (James Corden), The Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt), and The Witch (Meryl Streep)
Blunt and Streep go back to their days in The Devil Wears Prada, but meeting Meryl was a new experience for Corden. ”I used to tell her that she was a ‘smashing little actress,”’ he laughs. ”’You know, Meryl, I don’t know what it is, but I think you’ve got it.”’
Designer Colleen Atwood's sketch of The Witch
Streep, along with her frequent design partner J. Roy Helland and Atwood, worked out every detail of the Witch’s post-transformed look. ”I wanted there to be a big difference between the short, hunched witch and the tall and beautiful one,” says Streep, who sported four-inch heels. ”The movement, we talked about a lot. I’m an old theater horse and have kicked a lot of trains around in my life.”
Rob Marshall (center) directing James Corden and Emily Blunt
Marshall helped the actors ease into their roles and movement by rehearsing for about a month before anyone slipped into a costume or stepped foot on set. ”The great thing about rehearsals is you discover the characters,” he says. ”Eventually they even start telling you who they are.”
EW's Into the Woods Collector's Cover No. 1
For more about Johnny Depp’s Wolf and Lilla Crawford’s Red, pick up a copy of EW on newsstands or buy a copy now.
EW's Into the Woods Collector's Cover No. 2
For more on the bewitching Mackenzie Mauzy and Meryl Streep, pick up a copy of EW on newsstands or buy a copy now.
EW's Into the Woods Collector's Cover No. 3
For more about Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine’s fairy tale romance, pick up a copy of EW on newsstands or buy a copy now.
EW's Into the Woods Collector's Cover No. 4
For more the chemistry cooked up by James Corden and Emily Blunt, pick up a copy of EW on newsstands or buy a copy now.