The Disney blog has posted a first set of production stills from “Into the Woods”, including one new image of Meryl as the Witch. Click the preview on the left to view it in the image library. Also, as BroadwayWorld reports, the theatrical trailer for the film will be featured before theatrical showings of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Get On Up” and “Calvary”. Many thanks to Glenn for the latter news. Into the Woods is an unfamiliar take on our favorite fairy tales, and is based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim. The film comes to theaters December 25.

In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Jonathan Demme talks about “Ricki and the Flash”, confirming the casting of Kevin Kline and Mamie Gummer and gives insight on what to expect of Meryl’s rock’n’roll character. Now, I’m in heightened pre-production on a feature film, Ricki and the Flash, which we’re going to start shooting on Oct. 1. It’s a great script by Diablo Cody, and Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Mamie Gummer are in the cast. It’s a rock ’n’ roll driven family drama/comedy. Meryl plays Ricki and she’s the rocker. Kevin is the ex—the abandoned husband who lost Ricki to rock ’n’ roll. In our story, they come back together again under grave family circumstances. There’s another part we’re looking to cast of the guitarist who really wants to be Meryl’s boyfriend. Meryl, who is as we know a terrific singer, is a rock ’n’ roller. She loves rock ’n’ roll, and is taking a very personally-crafted approach to Ricki. Ricki’s of a generation of people like Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde, but I think this is going to be a very unique act. The complete interview can be read here.

Mike Nichols will direct Meryl Streep in “Master Class”, HBO Films’ adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play of the same name by Terrence McNally, who will adapt his work for the screen, it was announced by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO programming. “We are delighted to welcome back the incomparable Mike Nichols and the gifted Meryl Streep, whose collective brilliance shone on HBO with ‘Angels in America’ almost ten years ago,” said Lombardo. “Terrence McNally’s riveting play about the iconic Maria Callas is the perfect platform for these two consummate talents.” “It is a terrific play written with awareness of a great artist’s process,” says Mike Nichols, “and it will be one great artist playing another.” Master Class will begin production in early 2015, with Nichols, Streep and Celia Costas executive producing. Originally mounted for the stage in 1995 and starring Zoe Caldwell, the Tony Award-winning “Master Class” was inspired by the legendary master classes that operatic great Maria Callas gave in the early ’70s at the Julliard School. Amidst these classes with her hand-picked students, the indomitable Callas challenges her pupils while giving insight into the nature of her art and revealing the highs and lows of her storied life with passion, humor and deep emotion.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Weinstein Company and Walden Media are teaming up with Fathom Events to stream the red carpet premiere to more than 250 theaters across the country, and allow audiences to see the film ahead of its official release. When the film’s premiere takes place at Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on August 11, select theaters will stream the event, with some of the stars—including Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift and Brenton Thwaites—speaking directly to theater audiences. And after the red carpet, the moviegoers in those theaters will get to see the film in its entirety. “Fathom Events is proud to partner with TWC and Walden Media to give U.S. audiences the first red carpet premiere event of this scale and the opportunity to see The Giver in theaters,” said John Rubey, CEO of Fathom Events. “In addition to seeing the film before its wide theatrical release, our guests will have an exclusive invitation to join the stars for the full red carpet experience.” To learn more about the screening, continue reading at The Hollywood Reporter

Lots of bits on “The Giver” today. The New York premiere has been set for August 11 – ant the Weinstein Company gives audience members a chance to attend the premiere, via “The Giver Movie Premiere for Good”. The event, in partnership with CrowdRise and Eventbrite, gives movie fans an unparalleled opportunity to attend a major movie premiere with their favorite stars, by participating in an online fundraising campaign for the arts. Beginning today through August 1 at 2:00 p.m. EDT, fans can sign up at www.crowdrise.com/thegiver4good to participate in The Giver Movie Premiere for Good on Eventbrite and then kick-off their fundraising efforts on CrowdRise to attend the premiere. Leveraging Eventbrite’s online seating map, fundraisers can earn the ability to sit near select cast and crew of The Weinstein Company’s The Giver, including Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Brenton Thwaites.

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.” To read the complete article, please visit Entertainment Weekly. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

According to Page Six, Meryl Streep will play opera legend Maria Callas in a film version of Terrence McNally’s play “Master Class” for HBO. While I didn’t believe this headline at first, it recalled an interview with Stanley Tucci a while ago where he stated that he and Meryl might be working together soon for HBO, so let’s if this turns out true. It would be another formidable role for sure. Mike Nichols will direct the adaptation of the Tony-winning play about iconic diva Callas teaching students at Juilliard in 1971. Hollywood sources say filming will begin in January after Streep tackles another juicy musical project — director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Diablo Cody’s “Ricki and the Flash,” in which Streep plays a fading rock star who tries to reconnect with her estranged kids. “Meryl is learning the tricks of the guitar trade from none other than legendary Neil Young” for that movie, a source tells us.

“Master Class” debuted on Broadway in 1995 starring Australian actress Zoe Caldwell as Callas and co-starring Audra McDonald. Others who’ve tackled the role include Patti LuPone and Tyne Daly. In the play, Callas reminisces about her storied career and personal life, which included being dumped by Aristotle Onassis for Jacqueline Kennedy. One review after the play’s 1995 opening said of Onassis, “The Greek multimillionaire is so rudely and viciously recollected that he virtually becomes an onstage character.” But, “For all of its gossipy tidbits, ‘Master Class’ is an unembarrassed, involving meditation on Callas’s life and the nature of her art.”

Kevin Kline and Mamie Gummer are in negotiations to star opposite Meryl Streep in Jonathan Demme’s “Ricki and the Flash,” multiple individuals familiar with the Sony project have told TheWrap. Sony had no comment. Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) is directing from a script by fellow Oscar winner Diablo Cody. Marc Platt and Mason Novick are producing the film, which hits theaters on June 26, 2015. It will be the first release from Tom Rothman’s TriStar Productions. Streep stars as a rock ‘n’ roll-loving woman who chased her dreams at the cost of her family, but gets a chance to put things right. Kline is in negotiations to play Ricki’s forgiving ex-husband Pete, while Gummer is in talks to play the Oscar-winning duo’s confrontational daughter Julie. When Julie gets divorced from her cheating husband, Pete asks Ricki to visit Chicago and help their daughter through a difficult time. Thanks to Frank for the heads-up!