PC: Shakespeare to Sondheim: how did you get involved with the big screen version of INTO THE WOODS?
BM: I just auditioned! Like I said, man – you just go in and do it! [Laughs.]
PC: That’s what you say!
BM: But, seriously, I would say that Meryl Streep was a big influence on me getting the job, though. [Sighs.] She is just lovely. I’ve just been doing my scenes with her, and, oh God, she is just awesome! Unfortunately, as you know, I can’t really talk about it, though! [Laughs.]
PC: It’s all being kept pretty hush-hush at this early stage! What can you tell me about Mackenzie Mauzy as your Rapunzel?
BM: She is just lovely, too – a really lovely girl. I loved working with her – it was really great.
PC: Have you gotten to share any time with Johnny Depp onset yet?
BM: Yes. He was a very nice guy – I met him and I could not have been more impressed with how wonderful he was. A really nice guy.
PC: How do you see the place of social media in modern movie publicity and a means to leak information and express ideas? INTO THE WOODS has had pretty extensive social media coverage, clearly.
BM: Well, for me, I don’t do it so much for publicity reasons as I just do it for my friends, you know? I’m not that good with that kind of stuff, really – it’s hard for me because I’m not witty or anything like that. I try.
PC: Have you invited Stephen Sondheim to any of the shows?
BM: I don’t think he’s in town, but we should when we are back in New York.
PC: Have you gotten some one-on-one time with him working on INTO THE WOODS?
BM: Yeah, he was there when we recorded with the orchestra and all the stuff like that.
PC: Did he give you any particular insights?
BM: Well, you know, I think what he wrote is so beautiful and the music informs the story so much – that’s what makes a great writer, I think – and it is all right there in the music and lyrics. But, yeah, he would say things like, “Here – when you are doing this line, just remember: it’s a love song.” But, yeah, he was really cool.
PC: So, filming wraps at the end of this month?
BM: Yep. The end of the month is the end. I’m so glad, too – it’s going to be really cool.
PC: It’s going to be torture waiting 13 months for it to come out!
BM: Yeah, but that’s the fun part! That’s the best thing – to wait for something for a long time and then it happens. I’ve seen it and I think people are going to be impressed. Rob Marshall really knows how to make a beautiful movie…
PC: People have been waiting for 25 years – the time has come! It’s the most anticipated movie musical since LES MISERABLES.
BM: I know! I am very, very, very excited to be a part of it.
13. Meryl Streep
The Grand Dame
Which actress was blessed with the highest studio score on this list? It wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock, or Angelina Jolie whom our studio executives gave their highest marks to; instead, it was 64-year-old Meryl Streep. And can you blame them? Simply put, Streep is the closest thing to a guarantee you can get in this business: If she’s the star of a movie, it’s smart, important, and bound to be a quality production. (Or it’s Mamma Mia … but hey, that was a mammoth hit, at least!) But though Streep is often referred to as the world’s greatest actress, she cleverly plays against her reputation with charming acceptance speeches in which she fumbles for her glasses and drops self-deprecating bons mots. It’s no wonder that her likability score is the same as Most Valuable Stars king Robert Downey Jr.
And she’ll need every ounce of that likability for her next role as Violet Weston, the cruel and cancerous matriarch at the center of August: Osage County. The family drama, adapted from the Pulitzer-winning play by Tracy Letts, has Streep tearing into Julia Roberts and her kin with a ferocious meanness; Streep also tears into the scenery, delivering a performance so big that some critics were moved to pan it at the film’s Toronto Film Festival debut. But even so, those same pundits took it as fact that Streep would earn an Oscar nod for the role, so beloved is she by the Academy. And Streep is pretty fun even when she’s being bad, a quality she’ll continue to mine as the Witch in the currently filming Into the Woods, where she’ll get to sing onscreen for the first time since Mamma Mia.
Courtesy Paul McCartney / VEVO
I’m told: “There were a whole host of celebrities taking part. It was a really mixed bunch. Meryl Streep and Gary Barlow were in the studio, and there was an audience on set. But the big talking point was Kate and Johnny.
Johnny Depp and Kate Moss were confirmed to be joining as well. [Article] Jude Law and Chris Pine are also in!
Also first video from on set. We get a glimpse of Meryl at the very beginning as well.
Courtesy to coconutmilk83
Starring alongside Hollywood megastars Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp should have been all the proof James Corden needed that his career had hit dizzy new heights.
But his first thought on the set of his new film was that it had all been a terrible joke and the dream life he thought he was living was about to be snatched away.
“I spent the first week thinking I was going to be fired. I didn’t know if I was being Punk’d or something,” he says of his role in big-budget musical Into The Woods.
“To be in that company, to go to work every day with Meryl, it is just wonderful. It is incredible working with her.”
It’s a sign of just how much his life has changed in every way that even he struggles to believe quite how lucky he is.
James seems to be everywhere now. On television in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama The Wrong Mans. On the big screen very soon playing Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts in new movie One Chance. And as we speak it’s his afternoon off from filming Into The Woods with Streep and Depp.
There’s a guy on the crew of Into The Woods who is expecting his first child and he said to me, ‘Have you got any advice?’ I said, ‘Oh mate, you will meet a million people who will tell you they know exactly what to do. People line up to give you advice. The only thing I know is that no one ever sat in a therapist’s or a psychiatrist’s room saying: My parents just loved me too much.’
James, who this week presented a Pride of Britain award to heroic lollipop lady Karin Williams, agrees that the story of Paul Potts might not at first appear to be the stuff of the big screen. But in the hands of The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel and his own assured performance it has been touted as the new Billy Elliot, charting how a bullied kid from Port Talbot, South Wales, dreamed of becoming an opera singer.
One thing Paul and James do have in common is a nervousness and lack of confidence which Corden says he hopes will never go away. That’s what left him feeling so insecure when he first walked on to the set of Into The Woods with such stellar co-stars.
He said: “On stage you have to have incredible confidence or you would stop doing it. But I don’t think I will ever get to the point where I go, ‘I know exactly what I am doing’ and I don’t think I want to.
“You have to keep questioning everything and realise nothing really matters and you have to carry on and be happy.”
For his role as the baker in the film musical, which includes classic fairy- tale stories, he does get to sing – something that didn’t happen playing Paul Potts. James said: “I thought for a while that I could sing so I said to the producers that with lessons I could do it. I was in New York, I had the lessons, and they came and listened and very quickly said, ‘Nah, you aren’t going to be singing.’
“I still had to learn all the songs and sing them – but then Paul would sing and synch with my lips.”
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