The cast of Wicked has just added two huge names to play its leads. Based on the hit Broadway show of the same name, which was itself inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is in development at Universal with Jon M. Chu on board to direct the movie adaptation. It’s not just been revealed that Cynthia Erivo will star as Elphaba with Ariana Grande co-starring as Glinda. Both announced their respective castings with similar posts on Instagram.
Cynthia Erivo posted a handful of images to her Instagram account, and with the first photo conveying a look of shock, it seems to be when she found out she had landed the role. Other photos show her having a video call with Grande, who’s also ecstatic about their paired casting. One picture reveals a bouquet sent to Erivo with a note from Ariana that reads, “Dear Cynthia, honored doesn’t even begin to cover it. I cannot wait to hug you. See you in Oz.”
Also taking to Instagram, Ariana Grande posted something similar, starting with an image of the singer and actress looking like she’s just been told some very big news. She also revealed her own bouquet with a note from Erivo reading, “Congratulations Miss A, the part was made for you, I look forward to sharing this musical journey with you.”
Wicked is told from the perspective of the witches of Oz, putting a spin on The Wizard of Oz with Dorothy serving as a more minor character. It follows two witch friends, Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (aka Glinda the Good Witch), in the events before and during Dorothy’s journey to the magical land of Oz. The musical has become one of the most popular in the world with more than $1 billion earned in Broadway revenue.
There have been efforts for many years to get Wicked made into a movie, but only recently have the gears really started to get turning on the project. Earlier this year, it was reported that Jon M. Chu had boarded the project to serve as the director. In the summer, Chu provided an update on the project in an interview with Collider.
“Yes, of course, we’re going to have Oz, and you’re going to be in this crazy world, and you’re going to revisit this innocent place and you’re going to see that it’s not as innocent as it had been in the past,” Chu said. “But you’re also going to see that the relationship between these two women [Elphaba and Glinda] is more real than ever, that we’re going to be that close to them.”
He adds, “We’re going to root for them to try to get into that school or when one crosses the other. You’re going to hate the other one at some point. You’re going to want them to make up at another point, and you’re going to feel when they separate. That’s the most important thing. The spectacle? That’s the easy part, we can hire a lot of people to do that. It’s those little moments… that’s what’s going to make that.”
A release date hasn’t yet been set for Wicked. Directed by Jon M. Chu, the movie is co-written by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman. Marc Platt is producing.