Anna Kendrick Didn’t Expect to be Cast as Cinderella in ‘Into the Woods’

Anna Kendrick is known for her work on the big screen. But she started in the theater. So scoring a role in a stage musical adaptation was a big deal. In fact, she was completely surprised when she landed the coveted role of Cinderella in Into the Woods

Anna Kendrick’s theater background before ‘Into the Woods’

Anna Kendrick Into the Woods
Actress Anna Kendrick attends the “Into The Woods” world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Most know Anna Kendrick from her film appearances. Roles in Twilight (2008), Up in the Air (2009), Pitch Perfect (2012), Happy Christmas (2014), and Trolls (2016) have helped establish her as a Hollywood staple for filmgoers. However, Kendrick has also had an established and noteworthy career on the live stage. 

Playbill shows that Kendrick took to the Broadway stage in the role of Dinah Lord in 1998’s production of High Society. She was just 12 years old when she made her way to the Broadway stage in her first stage appearance outside of her home state of Maine. The performance netted her wins from the Drama Desk Awards and Theatre World Awards, as well as a coveted Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. 

Broadway World reports that she also appeared in A Little Night MusicMy Favorite Broadway/The Leading Ladies: Live at Carnegie Hall, and workshopped Jane Eyre and The Little Princess for Broadway.

Anna Kendrick expected a different ‘Into the Woods’ audition

With her history of stage success and a strong singing voice, Kendrick was a perfect candidate for Disney’s Into the Woods film adaptation. The film comes from the Broadway production of the same name and has a reputation for its darker take on classic fairy tales. The big-screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical was, appropriately, a Disney production.

In a career retrospective video Kendrick filmed for Vanity Fair, she revealed Into the Woods was the only role she’s ever cried over getting. She couldn’t believe she got to participate in the “iconic” production. It “meant so much” to her to be part of it. 

She was even more overcome with emotion when she found out who she’d be playing. “It never even occurred to me that I could play Cinderella,” she explained. She assumed she’d be auditioning for the part of Little Red Riding Hood. She explained that in stage versions of the play, “usually like an adult woman plays Little Red Riding Hood.” The film, however, cast a child (Lilla Crawford) in the part, so Kendrick was there to try out for Cinderella. 

“The idea of playing soft, open, vulnerable, full of heart, and full of hope Cinderella, you know, just kind of blew me away,” Kendrick remembers. 

What is Kendrick doing now?

It’s been nearly a decade since Into the Woods hit theaters. And Kendrick has stayed busy in the time since. She went on the reprise the part of Beca for Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) and Pitch Perfect 3 (2017). She also held the title role in Disney’s Christmas comedy Noelle (2019). 

As for upcoming work, IMDb reports multiple projects in her future. We can expect to see Kendrick soon in Alice, Darling, a dramatic thriller in post-production. Keeping with the darker theme, she’s been cast in The Dating Game, which is about a serial killer. Even further on the horizon, Kendrick has been announced as taking the starring role in Unsound, a thriller about a state trooper tasked with finding an escaped inmate and gang leader while dealing with her secret hearing loss. 

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