Emily Blunt on Singing in ‘Into the Woods’: ‘It Was a Very Steep Learning Curve’

Javier Espinoza

December 29, 2014

Article taken from The Wall Street Journal.

Adaptions of musicals from stage to screen run the risk of becoming watered-down versions of the original. But “Into the Woods,” Disney’s adaptation of the musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, to be as dark as the original, says actress Emily Blunt, who plays the Baker’s wife in the film.

“I was so amazed and moved to have a stage production become a film,” she says in an interview. “You just want to make sure it feels cinematic … [director] Rob Marshall has made this into the most dynamic spectacle that’s joyous but dark and the camera never stops moving.”

Mr. Marshall also directed “Chicago” and he was a Broadway director and choreographer.

The film demanded that Blunt take singing lessons for a couple of months. Before this, she says, her singing career “took place in the shower. It was a very steep learning curve. I was reluctant to even audition for it.”

Having to perform Sondheim’s music made it all the more challenging. “It’s incredibly unpredictable, and rapid and complex musically and emotionally,” the 31-year old actress says. “The most difficult thing was trying to honor Sondheim’s music and do it justice. We all had to show our underwear on day one of rehearsals.”

On top of the singing, Blunt had to use her imagination for scenes that involved the use of a green room given the special effects. “We’ve got moments of special effects [like] when the witch disappears … so when you’re having to act across a green wall that is tough. That’s not as fun. You’re not being transported by your environment. You’re having to imagine it and react in a way that doesn’t feel as authentic.”

Script developed by Never Enough Design