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No dead Rapunzel, no horny Wolf: Stephen Sondheim reveals plot changes in Disney's 'Into the Woods'

There was no way Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods was going to keep every single line, lyric and plot point of Stephen Sondheim’s original musical. And now Sondheim himself has confirmed exactly what we will—or won’t—be seeing.

Playbill reports that Sondheim revealed the changes during a chat with a group of high school arts educators. The subject came up after one teacher brought up Into the Woods, expressing concerns that some of its plot points aren’t appropriate material for students to perform. “Well, you’ll be happy to know that Disney had the same objections,” Sondheim replied. For the record, here’s how he stands on the issue of watering down stage productions—in schools and, presumably, other arenas as well: “Censorship is part of our puritanical ethics, and it’s something that [students are] going to have to deal with,” said Sondheim. “There has to be a point at which you don’t compromise anymore, but that may mean that you won’t get anyone to sell your painting or perform your musical.”

Here are a few bits Sondheim revealed about what’s in store for the forthcoming film adaptation: READ FULL STORY

'The People vs. George Lucas 2' will focus on the 'disneyfication' of the 'Star Wars' franchise

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Currently there are three Star Wars movies in production at Disney. There’s Star Wars: Episode VII–Maybe the Ancient Fear, directed by J.J. Abrams, which arrives in December 2015. Then there’s Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff, coming in December 2016, which is definitely about Boba Fett or definitely not about Boba Fett, depending on which way the wind is blowing. And there’s Josh Trank’s other Star Wars spinoff, which is definitely about Young Han Solo or definitely about Young Greedo or possibly about the Sarlacc Pit’s early days. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen' triggers an Elsa baby boom

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And so it was written: A generation from now, the pregnant Elsas and Khaleesis of the world will look to their own pop culture before choosing trendy names for their own children.

Yes, British website BabyCentre.com has reported that for the first time, the name Elsa has cracked the top 100 most popular names, due in part to the massive success of the Disney animated feature Frozen. The trend isn’t entirely surprising: Baby names often follow pop culture trends. BabyCentre also pointed out that Logan, Wolverine’s name in X-Men, was popular with the guys, and who could forget the recent arrival of Khaleesi in the baby name game? READ FULL STORY

Note to movie studios: Give trolls their due!

Trolls are having a moment. Yesterday, DreamWorks announced that Anna Kendrick would star in Trolls, an animated musical based on the creepy children’s toys. Last week, Laika released the trailer for The Boxtrolls, which combats trolls’ reputation as monsters, depicting them instead as silly magical creatures living peacefully in the sewers. And last year, Frozen featured a gaggle of friendly, wise trolls who adopted leading man Kristoff and gave leading lady Anna a hand when she needed their help.

All of these creatures stand in pretty sharp contrast to various Old Norse myths, which establish a few basic trollish characteristics: they’re magical, strong, not very smart, human-hungry, and vulnerable to the sun, which turns them into stone. While this cuddly new breed of trolls may be magical, they’re also cute and amiable. And that’s a shame.

READ FULL STORY

So Khal Drogo is playing Aquaman, probably

I’m done with people who think Aquaman is lame. It’s less an argument than a played-out meme that draws its evidence from two ridiculous sources: Super Friends, a TV show that no one under the age of 30 actually watched; and Entourage, a TV show that everyone under the age of 30 watched, God damn our rotten souls. Aquaman’s classic costume is silly—green and orange, booties and gloves—but his backstory has ten Game of Thrones‘ worth of awesomely kookbat mythology. He can control all sea creatures, which yes hahaha he talks to dolphins OH LOOK OUT SMART GUY FIFTY SHARKS JUST ATE YOUR FAT FACE OFF. READ FULL STORY

Ansel Elgort in 'Hairspray' and 'Rent,' Taran Killam in 'Evita,' and more stars in high school musicals

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There is nothing else to say except this: Ansel Elgort, whose charming swagger won your heart in The Fault in Our Stars, played Link Larkin in a high school production of Hairspray.

Elgort has made frequent mention of his theater (and tap-dancing) past — but the video evidence below is really just too good to be true. Not only is there proof of Elgort’s basically perfect casting as Tracy Turnblad’s well-coiffed love; there’s also footage of Elgort’s performance as Collins in a theater camp production of Rent at the famed Stagedoor Manor.

And Elgort, of course, isn’t the only celebrity who tread the theater boards as a student. In honor of these videos surfacing, we’ve rounded up a handful of other stars who were surprise dynamos in their high school musical theater programs. Let them entertain you in the clips below: READ FULL STORY

Samuel L. Jackson still has his 'Pulp Fiction' speech ready, just in case

Pulp Fiction, motherf—er; do you remember it?

On a recent visit to The Graham Norton Show, the actor revealed that he still remembers his famous speech from Pulp Fiction on Ezekiel 25:17  — cadence and all. In fact, Jackson can recite the monologue on cue, complete with a little background music. Even without the afro and gun, Jackson remains truly terrifying.

READ FULL STORY

Robert Pattinson shrugs off rumors of playing Indiana Jones or Han Solo

Robert Pattinson has no plans to brandish a bullwhip or blaster anytime soon.

The Twilight star addressed rumors that he would take on Harrison Ford’s iconic roles of Indiana Jones and/or Han Solo while walking the red carpet for the U.S. premiere of his latest film, The Rover, on Thursday.

“I don’t know why. Why is that coming out?” he said of speculation he might star in an Indiana Jones update, according to People. “I honestly don’t understand what it’s all about. Man, I wish!”

Equally head-scratching for the 28-year-old actor are reports that he would appear as the pilot of the Millennium Falcon in an upcoming Star Wars film. (In other Han news, Ford is currently sidelined from J.J. Abrams’ new project about that galaxy far, far away.)

“I didn’t even know there was a Han Solo spinoff coming out,” Pattinson told reporters. “Sounds like a cool spinoff. I’ll watch it.”

PopWatch Planner: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Louie,' finales, 'Jersey Boys' premiere, and more

For Game of Thrones fans, today is arguably the most important day of 2014, because it marks yet another season finale, and furthermore, it will probably determine Tyrion’s fate. So to those of you who are obsessed with the show, I wish you good luck. But for the rest of you who are looking past tonight’s finale, there’s an entire week’s worth of possibilities that await you.

Here’s what your pop culture calendar looks like this week: READ FULL STORY

Kevin Costner plays catch with his sons on the 'Field of Dreams' -- VIDEO

A game of catch turned into a spectator sport when Kevin Costner played with his sons at the site where Field of Dreams was filmed.

In celebration of the baseball movie’s 25th anniversary, Costner arrived at the field near Dyersville in northeast Iowa on Friday. He tossed around a ball with sons Cayden, 7, and Hayes, 5, in the infield while hundreds of fans clapped when the boys made a play.

“We don’t usually have this many people around when we do this,” Costner said, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

Costner — who played an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball field in the middle of his corn crops — was joined by a number of co-stars from the 1989 flick, including Timothy Busfield, for the two-day celebration. READ FULL STORY

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