After years of speculation and rumour, with many different names from stage and screen circulating the project – the movie adaptation of the smash-hit Broadway musical Wicked has finally found its Glinda and Elphaba. Pop star Ariana Grande will be playing Glinda and stage-and-film star Cynthia Erivo will play Elphaba.
The film will be directed by Jon M. Chu, who directed the musical In the Heights which was released earlier this year. While Grande is primarily known for her music, she has also acted on Broadway, on television and in film. British actress and singer Erivo has almost completed the EGOT – she has an Emmy, Grammy and Tony and has been Oscar-nominated. Both stars announced the news via videos on their Instagram pages.
Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and tells the story of Elphaba (originally played by Idina Menzel on stage), who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda (originally played by Kristin Chenoweth) who becomes known as The Good Witch. It started its Broadway run in 2003 and has travelled to the West End, as well as other touring productions.
Wicked has broken many box-office records and in 2013, became the first musical to earn $3 million in one week. After a significant pause in Broadway and West End productions, due to the pandemic, Wicked recently re-opened in both New York and London.
A Wicked film has been in development since 2010. In 2012, director Stephen Daldry was attached and he was still attached as recently as October 2020, when he had to leave due to scheduling conflicts. Chu was announced to direct in February 2021 and the casting rumours have generated huge debate since then.
One of the most frequently-mentioned names has been Glee’s Lea Michele, but it looks as though the production team have gone for more left-field choices. Ariana Grande is a huge star, with 274 million Instagram followers, so the movie will generate a lot of publicity before it even comes out.
And we will leave you with this little gift, which is always worth a revisit.