Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods recently had its first live screening of the film in New York City and one of the film’s stars, Anna Kendrick who plays Cinderella, revealed that the film mixes the talents of the performers’ live singing voices as well as the traditional pre-recording performance of movie musicals. The actress answered the question that many musical buffs had undoubtably been wondering at a Q&A session that was held after the screening in New York.
When asked about the differences of performing on stage and on film, Kendrick transitioned into the subject of singing for the Into the Woods movie. The star stated that the production makes use of both live and pre-recorded singing according to whichever method works best for the designated scene. For instance, Kendrick says that when she is running down a flight of stairs in a tight Colleen Atwood-designed corset, her Cinderella will be lip syncing to a pre-recorded track. The reasoning for this is that if the actress were to sing live amidst the given conditions, she would sound breathy and uneven, so it was deemed best to use the recorded vocals in the more physical instances.
Live singing is used, however, in the more subtle moments of the film. Kendrick stated that her duet with Emily Blunt who plays the Baker’s Wife is a live performance seen in the film. The numbers that required minimal movement in their performance made use of singing live on camera due to the fact that the actors could easily play off of one another with their vocal patterns and in-the-moment emotions as opposed to being glued to the performance they made within the recording studio.
Into the Woods is the second movie musical in recent years to make use of live singing in the final production of the film. 2012’s Les Misérables was the first mainstream movie musical to have every single actor in the movie singing live throughout the entire production. The film was acclaimed critically, winning multiple Oscars, but many of the fans coming from the musical theatre world proved to give flack to the film. A big argument was stating that one should go to a stage show if they wanted to see live singing and the fact that the actors in the film are singing live for the first time should not be made a big deal.
The fact of this matter is that it is a big deal in the world of cinema. Many do not understand the numerous technicalities that go into creating a movie musical. Not only must the actors be fully emotionally invested for hours upon hours each day to remain believable take after take, the immense difficulty post-production has of splicing together all of the live takes is an enormous feat in itself. The use of pre-recorded vocals speeds up the already lengthy progress, so one must applaud the likes of Into the Woods and Les Misérables for going the extra mile in producing a quality feature film.
Into the Woods will mix both live singing and pre-recorded sining it the final cut of the film, in hopes to acquire a stunning final product. Into the Woods will begin playing in theaters everywhere on Christmas Day.
Opinion by Cody Collier