By Anton Adianto
Originally a screenplay made for a Broadway musical, Into the Woods became a Disney musical fantasy movie directed by Rob Marshall. The cast did an outstanding job and the music was dazzling, but it’s worth mentioning the atmospheric sets and incredible costumes.
Oscar-winning production designer Dennis Gassner took inspiration from Edwardian book illustrator Arthur Rackham. Gassner’s remarkable sense of style is noticeable in his precise cutout silhouettes of fairy-tale characters. He created a dark and gloomy aura by replicating the look of a vast, archaic and visually extraordinary tree called the Angel Oak that grows in a rural place near Charleston, South Carolina. He roamed the countryside for similar trees and built replicas for the movie. He also did an amazing job with the use of real shrubs and flowers to complement the trees, resulting in a realistically beautiful set.
Director Marshall chose England as the filming location because he wanted stone castles and moss-covered manor houses as the background in accordance to make the woods look authentically aged. Two important locations used for Into the Woods are the old hunting ground of Henry VIII in Ashridge Estate near Berkhamsted, and the well-known Windsor Great Park that has oaks more than 1,000 years old. For the captivating scenes outside the tower, the production team built a structure inside the ruins of the 18th century Waverley Abbey in Farnham, Surrey, England.
If you haven’t already, we suggest you watch this movie!
Photo by Walt Disney Studios