Last Monday, we told you about the brouhaha going on about Disney's sexy makeover of Merida, our heroine in "Brave." The studio has announced that Merida would be Disney's 11th princess. That was nice and all, but they had to give her more vivacious curves as well. The film's director (who was replaced in the middle of the making of "Brave" but was awarded an Oscar anyway), Brenda Chapman, wrote a passionate letter to her newspaper denouncing Disney's makeover decision.
Many folks are indeed passionate about this sexified Merida look that A Mighty Girl, a blog dedicated to empowering girls, created a Change.org petition and posted, yup, another impassioned letter to Bob Iger, Disney CEO. Right now, the petition has garnered more than 200,000 votes! Wow! You can sign if you want by clicking here.
So Disney's response to the controversy? Merida's sexified self disappeared from Disney's princess website! Vanished! Gone! Poof! Just like the will-o'-the-wisps in "Brave."
I went and checked the Disney Princess site and now, it's the old Merida with the words "strong, fearless, adventurous" accompanying the picture. Yeah!
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No other than Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal! The actors are in early talks to join Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp in Rob Marshall's adaptation of the musical "Into the Woods" according to HuffPost. The two will be playing a pair of self-involved princes in the film. I'm guessing one will be playing Rapunzel's prince and the other, Cinderella's prince. There will be singing involved! Not quite sure about Gyllenhaal but we've seen Pine belt it out in the 2010 drama "Small Town Saturday Night" where the actor played a country singer. He even sang in the film's theme song "Someday Came Today."
But before "Into the Woods," Pine will be seen as Captain Kirk in the new flick "Star Trek Into Darkness."
For a little history of "Into the Woods" and what it's about, here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986, and premiered on Broadway in 1987. Bernadette Peters' performance as the Witch and Joanna Gleason's portrayal of the Baker's Wife brought acclaim to the production during its original Broadway run. Into the Woods won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason), in a year dominated by The Phantom of the Opera.
The musical has been produced many times, with a 1988 US national tour, a 1990 West End production, a 1991 television production, a 1997 tenth anniversary concert, a 2002 Broadway revival, a 2010 London revival and in 2012 as part of New York City's outdoor Shakespeare in the Park series. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Rapunzel", and "Cinderella", as well as several others. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, and their interaction with a Witch and her curse on them.
And here's what we wrote last month about Johnny Depp joining "Into the Woods"
Say what you will about Johnny Depp's singing prowess in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," but the actor may be back on the big screen with another musical role! This time it's the sexy and very hungry Wolf in the movie version of "Into the Woods."
THR is reporting that the actor is in talks to star in Disney's film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical for his "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" director, Rob Marshall, who also helmed the Oscar-winning "Chicago" and "Nine" and the 1999 TV movie, "Annie."
Depp will be joining the fantastic Meryl Streep who is set to play the vain but very charismatic Witch. "Into the Woods" is a dark "Shrek" if you may, a hodge podge of classic fairy tales that feature a childless couple, Baker and his wife, who must go into the woods to lift a family curse. Along the way, they encounter Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood.
The screenplay is written by James Lapine based on his book for the 1986 musical. Stephen Sondheim composed the Tony-winning original score with David Krane working on the music arrangement for the movie.
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There's a new Riddick movie simply titled, what else, "Riddick!" Unviersal has shared the new trailer for the third film in the "Pitch Black" franchise starring Vin Diesel. This is the first film in the series since "Chronicles of Riddick" opened and sorta flopped in 2004 (the film only made $115 worldwide!). "Pitch Black" debuted in 2000. Wow, it's been that long?
Of course, Diesel, the current Universal baby, is starring in the mega-hit franchise, "Fast and Furious," and the sixth film is opening next weekend just in time for your Memorial Day celebration.
"Riddick" opens nationwide on Sept. 6 and has Diesel back in the titular role as an outlaw who must help his bounty hunters captors fight a really mean alien species. Take a look at the trailer for "Riddick" below:
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I enjoyed the first "Rio," and now, lo and behold, we see the new teaser trailer for "Rio 2!" The plot tells the story of Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) as they enter parenthood and must decide on the best way to raise their babies. Kristin Chenoweth and Bruno Mars join the voice cast. Directed by Carlos Saldanha (the first "Rio," "Ice Age), "Rio 2" from 20th Century Fox animation will fly into theaters on April 11, 2014. Here's the teaser for "Rio 2."
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Just look at the picture above -- before, for the movie "Brave," Merida is tomboyish in stature, even a little chubby with baby fat. Then, when Disney announced that Merida would be the 11th official princess, all hell broke loose. Why? Because the studio sexified the character, complete with vivacious curves and much thicker, fuller set of hair!
Many protested the new image of Merida, even prompting a Change.org petition headed by A Mighty Girl, a blog and online girl empowerment site. Right now, the petition has garnered a 129,278 signatures! The crux of the petition claims that:
The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls' capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value -- to be recognized as true princesses -- they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.
And now, Brenda Chapman, the director of "Brave," wrote to her local newspaper, the Marin Independent Journal, in protest of Disney's new version of Merida saying that: "I think it's atrocious what they have done to Merida."
Chapman, the first woman to win an Academy Award for an animated feature further revealed that, "When little girls say they like it because it's more sparkly, that's all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy 'come hither' look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It's horrible! Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance."
Disney's response to the criticisms? Here's what the studio said to Yahoo:
"Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate, and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world."
That's fine and dandy but Chapman was not having it! She further wrote, "They have been handed an opportunity on a silver platter to give their consumers something of more substance and quality — THAT WILL STILL SELL — and they have a total disregard for it in the name of their narrow minded view of what will make money."
And here's the kicker, "I forget that Disney's goal is to make money without concern for integrity. Silly me."
Wow! Passionate words!
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