I recently had the opportunity to chat with Director Rob Marshall and Anna Kendrick about Disney’s Into The Woods which they worked on together. Rob directed the film and Anna stars as a modern Cinderella. We welcomed them into the room with applause which they weren’t expecting as you can see below.
We chatted about topics ranging from the film to what they will be doing for the holiday.
Since they looked like they get along so well and Rob had said in a previous interview we attended that the talents of the cast truly surprised him, We wanted to know what surprised him most about Anna Kendrick?
I’m so embarrassed. I should leave the room.
Meryl Streep called her role the most complex character in the film because of what she’s dealing with and she’s right because and it needs a great internal depth and I knew Anna. Anna’s an Oscar nominated actor who’s done an enormous amount of beautiful work on film and on stage, but to see the full range of what she has and to be able to open that up, you know, it’s an exposing thing as an actor, to be able to let you in and Anna lets you in this movie. She lets you into this person who’s indecisive and not sure and wrestling with what she’s feeling and it’s a very brave personal, and beautiful performance. I’m very proud of it. Very proud of her.
Rob called this cast a company. So of course we wanted to know what defines a company to him and what made this cast that definition?
You know, a company is everyone working together. I mean it’s as simple as that. That’s what it is. Everybody working together for the same thing. When I cast people I not only cast them for the talent and for playing the roles but I also cast them for who they are and I have to have around me people I like and people that are wonderful to work with and are there for the right reasons. I’ve certainly come across actors that sometimes aren’t exactly there for the whole, you know what I mean? It’s about them and this piece in particular in an ensemble piece. You always have to be feeding the piece and this is a gorgeous Sondheim, James Lapine piece and we were all aware of that from the very beginning and this cast understood that. There was a sense of honoring this beautiful piece. We’re all very lucky. Musicals are few and far between anyway. A Sondheim musical is really few and far between and so we felt very lucky to be doing that and I felt everybody supporting each other. The rehearsals helped enormously, having that time to create that company because that’s when everybody’s doing things for the first time and it’s exposing and everybody’s working hard to do it together. I think during that time wouldn’t you say Anna that during the rehearsal was a bonding experience for people?
It was an equalizer ‘cause we were all terrified and there’s nothing like terror to make you forget what you thought the hierarchy was going to be when you arrived, you know. That there would be a feeling of a food chain or something and to be just in it doing the work, especially when we were all so intimidated by the music. It just made you realize we’re all in the same boat here.
They do an amazing job with this film, so I of course wanted to know how much time of rehearsal did they have before actually shooting?
It’s interesting. We had four weeks of rehearsal and then two weeks of prerecords but continued to rehearse while we were prerecording so we kind of I guess all together, sort of six weeks before we started really filming.
Every girl dreams of playing Cinderella. We had to ask Anna how did it feel playing a different kind of Cinderella. She’s almost like a modern day Cinderella in a way.
It’s funny because I think a lot of girls’ dream of playing Cinderella and a certain kind of girl dreams of playing Sondheim Cinderella. And we love those kinds of girls and I think that she is very modern, you know. I mean I’m glad that some people are surprised by her. It is a Cinderella that has existed since about 1987 you know, so I didn’t have that sense of responsibility or anything about it. I think that something that we do to ourselves as women, especially modern women we instead of trusting our instincts I think we have a tendency to feel a responsibility to weigh every option and look at things from every angle and ask our mom and ask our sister and ask our friends and we find ourselves in situations or committing to certain things that our gut is telling us is not gonna make us happy or is gonna be harder in the long run.
So that was kind of really fun to play that she’s talking herself into things and out of things. I think that by the end of it for her to really realize what’s important once she is in a situation where an entire community has to come together and decided what’s really important to them then it becomes pretty easy to say goodbye to this guy who’s sort of a tool.
Rob and Anna have done their fair share of musicals so we of course wanted to know what is it about musicals in general that they love?
I mean I’m doing musicals ‘cause they’re making musicals. It’s a grand time to be alive and working. I, I’m so grateful that, you know, frankly that Rob ushered in an age when people would make a movie musical and I do feel quite greedy at times but it’s, you know, it’s only because I am worried that it’ll be, you know, I’ll have these handful of opportunities and you know, these things are cyclical and people get spooked and what if they stop making movie musicals? So, it’s not the plan to make them exclusively for the rest of my life but they just mean so much to me and I just, you know, loving being a part of it while as long as anybody will kind of let me.
It’s in your blood. Anna has it in her blood. You either have it or you don’t. What does Mama Rose say? You either have it or you ain’t. I mean, you know, that’s what she has.
You got it.
Do they prefer making musicals?
Well, Anna and I both come from very similar background in a way because we both come from theatre and I feel the way Anna does. I feel like we’re lucky to be making them. It’s an American born genre and I never believed even when I did Chicago when they were saying that it’s a dead genre. I just never believed it. I never think it is. I mean look at Gladiator. They said the swords and sandals movie was dead and it’s not. It’s about the execution and the material and making it work. I believe in it. I think there’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like the joy of it, you know? That beautiful thing that said which I love about the rule of musicals and that is that when you can’t speak or when speaking isn’t enough you must sing or movement isn’t enough so you dance to sort of express.
What I love about this piece and the way it’s written is that hopefully you’re not even aware when they’re singing in a way because the expression comes because they have to sing, you know. Anna’s character gets stuck in the steps of the place and she has to make this enormous decision. It’s not enough to speak a monologue. She sings and it should feel organic and it’s what a beautiful way to express yourself and there’s a joy to music that you just can’t get from anything else.
And lastly we wanted to know if there was a musical that they want to see become a film that they want to be a part of?
I’m not even sure that I would wanna be a part of it or want to be in it. I actually have that thing that a lot of musical theatre fans have where it’s like I wanna see the movie but what if they mess it up? I have that feeling about Parade which is my favorite musical, so I would just love to see that made. But, you know, when I first saw that I was attached to the role of Iola Stover and I’m sadly I’m no longer 13.
At the end they were kind enough to take a photo with us. It was a pleasure chatting with them about this spectacular film.
Disney’s “Into The Woods” is in theaters now! Run out and see now!
For more info on this film visit:
I solely was invited to this media event by Disney. All opinions are my own.
Photos courtesy of Disney from Momstart.com and are Edited by thequeenofswag.com