A lot of film adaptations of musicals have gone by the wayside recently – looking at you two, Cats and Dear Evan Hansen – but the news that the upcoming Wicked adaptation has cast Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in the lead roles is a good start. 

As per Variety, Grande and Erivo will portray Glinda and Elphaba respectively. Universal have also sought out the talents of Jon, M. Chu, director of the recently-acclaimed In the Heights, to helm the big-screen version of the beloved musical.

The stars showed their excitement about being cast in separate Instagram posts. “Dear Cynthia, honored doesn’t even begin to cover it. I cannot wait to hug you. See you in Oz,” Grande wrote in a message to her new co-star, sent with a pink and green floral arrangement in honour of the signature colours of Glinda and Elphaba.

This could be a major role for Erivo: the actress only needs an Oscar to gain legendary EGOT status, having already won a Tony, Grammy, and Daytime Emmy for her work elsewhere.

Having started as a young actress in TV shows like Victorious before becoming a huge pop star, Wicked could signal another swing in career direction for Grande.

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Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, telling the story of the lead-up to Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. After premiering in San Francisco in 2003, it’s became one of the biggest musicals of all time.

That’s why a film adaptation has been discussed for a long time, since at least 2004. Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) had been attached to direct for several years but had to drop out in 2020 due to scheduling conflicts.

For more on this topic, follow the Film & TV Observer.

Check out ‘The Wizard and I’ (Live at the Wicked 15th Anniversary Special) performed by Ariana Grande:


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