Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wicked the Movie finally gets a release date

Fan poster by Angelo Thomas,
Featuring a fancast Anna Kendrick
as Elphaba
Every Oz fan knew that a movie version of the hit musical Wicked wasn't a question of if, but when. (Except Sam. If you listen closely, you can hear him yelling "NO!!!" all the way from Australia.)

Well, although I'm sure most Oz fans have heard, the question has finally been answered. The movie is set to open to theaters in the US on December 20, 2019. (International releases should be around this time.) I, for one, think they should've set it for October (since the movie is about a witch, and that would tie it to Halloween), but it seems movies based on musicals get December releases now.

It will have been 13 years since Wicked debuted on Broadway, so it seems this has given quite enough time for the show to run in Broadway, tour the country, and open in other countries before a movie is made.

We knew a movie wouldn't come right away because film adaptations of Broadway hits aren't fast-tracked anymore. (Note the last Oz stage to film adaptation, The Wiz in 1978, opened a mere three years after the Broadway debut.) It's important for plays to be a hit in their own right before they get a movie nowadays. And Wicked isn't just a hit, it's become a part of Broadway history and without a movie has earned an important part in pop culture.

Fan poster by Angelo Thomas,
Featuring a fancast Julianne Hough
as Glinda
So, what's in store for the movie? As Angelo and I discussed in the latest podcast, there's likely to be changes. The stage of the Broadway version is framed with a clockwork motif as part of the Time Dragon Clock. As I mentioned in my review of the play, this can be interpreted as the entire story being depicted by the Time Dragon Clock from the original Gregory Maguire novel. Could this be interpreted into the movie? The Time Dragon Clock can't be in every scene. Or would it be too much? Would it require a framing sequence?

Speaking of which, a play has to compress the events of a story to a number of scenes or have some things only referred to. A movie has more freedom. Could we see a more fleshed-out version of the story in the movie? That would be akin to how The Sound of Music was adapted for film. Perhaps Stephen Schwartz will be penning a new song or two, or reviving ones they dropped during development years ago.

In my opinion, that might be ideal so that the movie version will offer a different experience from the play, so that both versions of the property will offer something unique. Winnie Holzman is writing the screenplay, based on her original script, so that should be in good hands.

And then there's casting. Fans already have their ideas, but I think we should trust the creative team to pick the best people to portray the characters. Fancasting is fun (and Angelo's made a couple picks that he's made into art that decorates this article), but I think fans should have fun with coming up with picks, but don't fight because they don't like someone else's picks, or the actual final casting. All I'll say is that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith should certainly get at least cameos.

1 comment:

Sam Milazzo said...

I can't hear me yelling "NO", because I'm too tired from shaking my head with disbelief and unsatisfaction . . .