Wicked is about to defy whatever force has kept it bound in development for so long and is getting set to 'fly'. Universal has just confirmed the release date of a movie version of the phenomenally popular Broadway musical. It is, however, a LONG way off, as in years. December 20, 2019 to be exact.
(Note: that date is also booked by Disney for a 'yet-to-be-revealed' live action fairy tale', so development on this, and whatever Disney decides fills their slot will be interesting.)
Though it won't be the animated movie fans have been holding out for, for many years now, the movie does promise to bring all the best aspects of the musical to the big screen.
The Broadway musical was based on Gregory Maguire's book of the same name, which was a revisionist version of The Wizard of Oz, told from the point of view of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. The tone of the book is, however, completely different from the stage play and apart from the themes, has captured people's hearts with the wonderful music and lyrics.
The new movie version will include four, yes, four, new songs, (so yes, it's a musical - how could it not be?) and seeks to cash in on the popularity of a show that's been a hit for fifteen years running, had over five thousand performances around the world, and was the first Broadway show ever to hit the $Billion mark at the box office a couple of years ago.
The film will be directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) and produced by Marc Platt. The screenplay is to be written by the musical's book writer, Winnie Holzman and composer-lyricist, Stephen Schwartz. Both the musical and the film are adapted from Gregory Maguire's best-selling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. (Variety)There's no news on the cast as yet, and although fans will be rooting for Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel to reprise their original roles of Glinda and Elphaba respectively, with the story being a coming of age tale, the Producers will almost certainly be (very particularly) choosing younger stars - who can really sing - to bring the roles of twenty-somethings Elphaba and Glinda to life on film.
The movie has a tall order to fill with such high popularity stakes, but, having actually been in the works since 2015, they should have plenty of time to sort out their approach and hit all the right notes, especially as it includes key players from the musical that have kept it so popular.