Pint-Size ‘Ellen’ Star Sophia Grace Making Major Movie Debut in Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Talk about starting at the top: Eight-year-old Sophia Grace Brownlee has already become a star on YouTube and a favorite of chat show hostess Ellen DeGeneres. Now she'll be making her movie debut in one of the most anticipated films of 2014.

Disney reps confirm with Yahoo! Movies that young Sophia Grace has landed the role of Little Red Riding Hood in "Into The Woods," the long-awaited screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's celebrated musical. The story, which brings together characters from a handful of classic children's stories, has already attracted an A-list cast, including Johnny Depp as the Wolf, Meryl Streep as the Witch, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, and Emily Blunt as the Baker's Wife — putting Sophia in prime position to make a huge splash with her first film appearance.

Sophia's uncle, Lucas Brownlee, was the first to tip us off to the news (before Disney confirmed it with us):

And yeah, he later corrected himself on the proper spelling of the film's title. (It's "Into the Woods"!)

Along the lines of Justin Bieber, Sophia Grace's story shows just how far a viral video can take someone. In 2011, Brownlee's aunt posted a home video of Sophia and her cousin, dressed up as princesses, performing a full-bodied, rapid-fire version of Nicki Minaj's song "Super Bass." Eventually, the clip went viral, racking up over 42 million views, and Sophia Grace gained a fan in Ellen DeGeneres.

Several "Ellen" appearances later, Sophia has started writing her own rap songs, has released her first single (a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun"), and is, of course, now on track to become a movie star.

[Related: Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal Eyeing Royal Roles in ‘Into the Woods’]

"Into The Woods" is certainly a prestige project. The show earned three Tony Awards during its original 1987-to-1989 Broadway run, and picked up another two when it was revived in 2002. With Rob Marshall directing (his credits include "Chicago," "Memoirs of a Geisha," and "Nine"), Sondheim allegedly writing new songs for the movie adaptation, and a cast headlined by Depp and Streep, "Into The Woods" will be an event when it opens in theaters in December 2014, and Sophia Grace will be along for the ride.

It's a long way from singing "Super Bass" in your aunt's living room, that's for sure.

Watch Sophia Grace and Her Cousin Rosie on 'Ellen':