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GT talks Into The Woods with Meryl Streep

© Disney / Into The Woods Online Official

Queen Meryl comes to London…

Into The Woods, based on the Stephen Sondheim musical of the imperfect world of fairytale characters, follows the childhood stories with all grew up with and how they’re maybe a little less perfect than we all first were told. And, as we all would expect, Meryl is stunning.

This past week, GT spoke to the lady herself about her involvement with the new Disney musical adaptation, singing for Stephen Sondheim and how she prepared to create the fiercest witch of the year.

How did it come about that you came to play this part? Meryl: It took a long time and perseverance.

Rob (Director): Musicals are still a risk and Sondheim musicals are few and far between.

Did you know Streep is an anagram of the surname of original Broadway actress to tackle The Witch role Bernadette Peters? Meryl: When Bernadette (Peters) played it she was 28 and I’m much closer to 68, so it’s the sign of a great part.

With this musical steeped in theatrical history… why not replicate the Broadway production on film? Meryl: The great luxury of film and this production is that if you go see Into The Woods in the theatre you’ll pick up 95% of the lyrics. In this production, there’s not one that’s missed. There’s an intimacy and that’s Rob’s genius… producing a big sound and yet still having the intimacy and have them married in one filming language. That is unusual. You can imagine how badly this would have gone if presented in the ‘Broadway way’ but this is a little of everything and that’s good.

How do you create a performance that is routed on Broadway but also gives something for the requirement for movies? Meryl: I knew going in I’d have to really work on my lung capacity and my ability to expand the sound that I normally use when I’m yelling at people or singing… I swam one mile every day and it gave me a lot of breath.

So, Meryl, what made you accept this role now? Why this witch? Meryl: Because I felt age appropriate. I felt it was time and it was not time at 40. You can put old age on but it’s a lot more difficult to take it off.

What was it like the first time you saw yourself in the Witch costume? Meryl: Well, interestingly, there wasn’t much work to be done… the look when I transform had a lot of make up to be done. I like the first costume, it’s a lot more like me.

And what was Sondheim’s advise for your singing? Meryl: I didn’t know him at all and I was really excited to be there… I said, can you give me the sheet music? Could you autograph it? He wrote – ‘don’t fuck it up.’

Streep was joining by other members of the Into The Woods cast including Emily Blunt, James Corden, and Tracey Ullman among the films creative team.


Into The Woods is now open in UK cinemas, or the full soundtrack is available to download from iTunes and other such sites. For more information, visit the official website by clicking here.

 

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