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December 2014

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Page 21 of 51 20 POST DECEMBER 2014 ong before ABC's fantasy-dra- ma Once Upon a Time made its primetime debut, and blended the plots and storylines of many of literature's most beloved fairy tales and characters, lived a musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine that enjoyed a successful and Tony award-winning run on Broadway in the 1980s. Into the Woods, an original story that also ties together fairy tale characters from many of the Brothers Grimm's most noted classics, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk, focuses on a baker and his wife, their quest to begin a family, and their interactions with a witch and other storybook characters. The latest adap- tation of the musical has found its way into Hollywood, in a large-scale, holiday musical directed and produced by Rob Marshall (Chicago). It stars Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, James Corden and Chris Pine. Here, fi lm editor Wyatt Smith speaks with Post about the 13 months he spent working on the fi lm (his fourth with Marshall), which was shot on Arri Alexa cameras on the stages of Shepperton Studios, as well as other locations throughout England, and edited on Avid Media Composer. Keeping in mind that Into the Woods is a musical, what was needed on this fi lm compared to other fi lms you've worked on? "Musical fi lms are always tricky because it's incredibly unnatural for someone to just start singing. It's fi nding a way for that to feel natural and earned, and at the same time allow the songs to really be what the scene is, so you're not dou- bling up and that people aren't saying things that they'll then be singing — it's fi nding that balance between the story, the lyrics and the music. That's really the biggest challenge to a musical. "In the case of Into the Woods, it has greater challenges to it, because it is so verbose and it has so many diff erent char- acters and story lines, there's a lot to keep track of and keep an audience engaged with because it does start to move very quickly in all diff erent directions, and so it has its tricks and challenges versus your straight up narrative feature." I understand that many of the scenes and backgrounds were quite diverse — that must have presented a challenge for you? "It is very diverse. It is its own world. Rob did a brilliant job, along with production designer Dennis Gassner and cinema- tographer Dion Beebe, taking these fairy tale characters that we're familiar with and, rather than set them in a complete fantasy world, put them very much into an approachable, real world. It's very real for them. So, some of it takes place on locations in these incredible forests and places all around England, and some of it does take place on-set. Finding that way to move from real woods into our set woods and make them all kind of feel the same, that was certainly a bit of a challenge, but Dion, Dennis and Rob are really good at what they do, so they made that really seamless." Was there anything in particular that Rob Marshall said he was looking for in the fi lm's look or feel? "One of the conversations we had very early on was that the spectacle and the beauty of the fi lm be inherent in the footage. This is a fi lm that really needs to live in close ups, to really be with the characters, to allow us to look into their eyes and see what they're feeling. There are very human, very relatable elements in all of this. It may be Cinderella or Lit- tle Red Riding Hood, but it's them going through what we go through with our parents and our relationships with our families and our friends, and how the public perceives us and all the human vices and trappings. It was very import- ant that we didn't get caught up in the beauty and the fairy tale of it, and really focus on the characters." How closely did you work with Rob Marshall? Were you on-set during shooting or was he involved with post? "I was there for the fi rst day of shooting all the way through. There were some scenes Rob asked me to be on-set for, just as a reference, and some scenes he want- ed me to see how they were working. "As far as post goes, Rob is as hands on as a director could possibly get. Basically, he's there all day, every day in the room with me, door closed, and we just focus and work. It's very much his way and it some- times gets very intense, but it's wonderful." Any particular scenes that stand out for you or that you're proud of? "Well, there's a lot that I'm very pleased with and proud of in the fi lm. What was DISNEY'S INTO THE WOODS BY LINDA ROMANELLO FILM EDITOR WYATT SMITH DISCUSSES THE FAIRY TALE MUSICAL AND THE BALANCING ACT BETWEEN STORY, MUSIC AND LYRICS L Into the Woods' editor Wyatt Smith (inset) worked closely with director/ producer Rob Marshall (above with stars Emily Blunt and James Corden) on creating realistic settings. EDIT THIS

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