Billy Magnussen on Those Tight Leather Pants and ‘Fooling Around’ with Chris Pine

by Stacy Lambe 5:25 AM PDT, March 24, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

While Into the Woods has a number of stars--hello, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, and Anna Kendrick--it was Billy Magnussen’s leather pants that stole all the attention when the film first opened in December.

“The leather pants were great--Chris is jealous he didn’t get to wear them,” Magnussen tells ETonline of the costume he wore as Rapunzel’s prince opposite of Pine’s royal charmer of Cinderella (Kendrick).

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“Those pants were so into me,” the 29-year-old actor says, expressing an appreciation for the skintight costume. “[Designer Colleen Atwood and I] went through about five different pairs before we got them. It was all about the lunge. We had to be able to do the lunge--that was the stipulation.”

The lunge he’s referring to happens during the standout duet of “Agony” he performed with Pine. Seen frolicking in the water and ripping their shirts to reveal their sculpted chests, the scene had fans’ tongues wagging. But it also set the bar high for the rest of the cast.

"I remember Rob [Marshall, the director] going--because this was one of the first musical numbers we shot--he would go around with a slight edit of it together to all the other actors like, ‘Meryl, you gotta top this,’” Magnussen recalls.

And it’s clear the scene is also the actor’s favorite. “Man, we were just fooling around on the waterfall,” he says of filming the duet. “Rob gave us a playground for Chris and I to play in and we had a blast. How can I be upset about riding horses, singing, and wearing leather pants? That’s a party!”

While things were great on set, they weren’t as smooth in the recording studio where Stephen Sondheim--the composer of the original Broadway show’s original music and lyrics--was present for all the cast recordings, giving notes after each take. Magnussen’s case was no different.

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“[Chris and I] sing it through. Then Sondheim--with his eyes that are never open--says, ‘Just so you know, it’s a love song. So try to do it as a love song.’ And we we’re like, ‘OK, Stephen Sondheim’ and he leaves the room. We sing through it again,” he recalls. “Me and Chris high-five and are like, ‘We did it!’ And then we look over into the sound booth and he’s sleeping. So either we did really good or put him to sleep.”

Clearly not intimidated by the whole process, Magnussen adds: “We just had fun. You can’t take it too serious.”

Watch as Kendrick recalls the terrifying experience she had recording “On the Steps of the Palace”: 

Into the Woods is now available on Blu-ray combo pack and digital HD.