From Johnny Depp disguised as the big bad wolf to Meryl Streep scowling beneath a tangled blue, witchy coif, Disney is giving the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales an extreme makeover in its adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. So rather than wait until the film’s Christmas Day debut to learn more, we caught up with Rapunzel—actress Mackenzie Mauzy, that is. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:
You must be a fairy tale connoisseur. Into the Woods has so many characters intertwined throughout the plot—the baker and the baker’s wife, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood …
Yes, I had read my particular fairy tale and then delved into some of the other ones out of interest—there was actually a huge anthology on set.
What was one of your favorite things about playing Rapunzel?
Working with costume designer Colleen Atwood was incredible. She just tells an entire story through every costume—and it isn’t just that the pieces are gorgeous, there is more to them than that. The first time I met her was at a hotel near Union Square and as she looked at me, I just watched her think. Rapunzel is trapped in a tower so the costumes have a whole, subtle bondage component happening. Getting out of my dress at the end of the day was the worst—Colleen wanted to undo the ties herself. It took about 45 minutes to get into it and 20 minutes just to take it off.
So how do you break out of the ropes in the movie? Is it a spin-break?
The spin is for Hunger Games! I can’t give away too much but there is some wind and there is some horseback riding.
Are you an equestrian? Were you familiar with horseback riding before filming began?
That’s one of the first things Billy Magnussen [Rapunzel’s prince] and I learned how to do on set. I actually grew up allergic to horses, so I was a bit nervous the first day—and I had to learn to ride bareback without a saddle. They brought us up to these gorgeous fields out in the English countryside for lessons and there were all of these horses that had starred in movies from the past.
Was the film shot entirely on location?
We shot in England and in the studio where The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn was filmed. They built an island in the studio with an actual swamp—there were actual snakes in the water, it was quite an experience.
What did you guys do on set for fun?
Charades—and even Meryl played. You had to put celebrity names in for people to pick and she was basically making jokes—she put in James Corden, who was in the room.
I guess that’s what you do when you’re Meryl Streep—there’s no one else to pick!
Check out the trailer below: