Universal’s planned film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Wicked has landed its director.
Billy Elliot helmer Stephen Daldry had been attached to direct, but was forced to exit due to scheduling. Universal wants to move onto this one asap; it’s been in the works for around a decade. Now set to take the helm of the film is Jon M. Chu, whose many credit include 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians, Now You See Me 2, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
The timing has worked out well for Chu. He was actually on board to direct a Willow series for Disney, but pandemic-caused delays led to him stepping away.
“Most of my life I have felt out of place, weird and different. I hid behind my camera because people liked to be filmed and I could disappear,” Chu shared on Twitter.
“But when I saw Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s Wicked over 15 years ago as it was being workshopped in San Francisco I couldn’t unsee it. So to think that I have been invited to bring this timeless story to the biggest screens all around the world for people to experience with their family, best friends and total strangers… of all walks of life, ages, shapes and colours is like I’ve been invited to Oz by the Wizard himself.”
He added: “So, who wants to be Elphaba and Glinda?”
Indeed, there have still been no casting announcements for the film. The stage musical, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, originally starred Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as Elphaba (Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch), respectively.
The screenplay for the Wicked movie comes from the musical’s lyrics/music writer Stephen Schwartz and the book’s author Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life, Roadies).
Before we see what Chu delivers with Wicked, we’ll be seeing what he does with another feature musical adaptation, In the Heights, based on the stage musical co-created by Lin-Manuel Miranda. That film will be released in US cinemas and HBO Max simultaneously on June 18th.
No doubt there’s plenty of news to come regarding the Wicked movie, so stay tuned.