Musical veterans like Anna Kendrick, James Cordon, and Simon Russell Beale were natural choices for Disney’s movie adaptation of Stephen Sondheim‘s Into The Woods. However, one of the main roles was filled by an actress with no musical experience, Emily Blunt. Speaking with The New York Times, Blunt spoke about portraying the Baker’s Wife in the film and why her lack of professional musical experience ended up working in her favor.
Blunt admits that the opportunity to work with her The Devil Wears Prada co-star Meryl Streep again and big screen musical director Rob Marshall made her willing to confront the difficulties of starring in a musical. She says, “Stephen Sondheim’s music is challenging. It’s a mountain, and it’s a huge role, but it’s a wonderful role. The thought of working with Meryl again and working with Rob was what kind of shoved me through the auditioning door. Everybody had to go and sing, probably, other than Meryl. It’s like that feeling of showing your underwear.”
She later found out that Marshall wasn’t looking for a classically-trained singer for the part. She explains, “I did two lessons before the audition, but still, at that point, I just didn’t think I’d get it. What probably helped me more than anything is that Rob Marshall heard that I was nervous to come in, and he said, ‘I want an actor who can kind of sing, not the other way around.’ I thought that was really emboldening.“