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There's No Place Like Hollywood for 'Wicked'

wickedposter.jpg IGN is a really good place to get your movie news, I must say. They have their own stories and they're really good about wading through the mountains of industry headlines to find interesting ones, and that's the case here with a story they plucked from Variety. (I do wish they'd link to the story on Variety, because that site's internal search is a complete goddamn waste of time).

Because great things are expected out of Mamma Mia! (we may not see those results initially, but this thing will be in theaters around the world clear through Labor Day), Universal is skimming the cream of Broadway again, reaching a deal to bring Wicked to theaters.

Talk about a movie that'll make a lot of money...

The musical has been an enormous hit, it's based on a very popular book, and with musicals suddenly getting as much play as comic book movies - and wouldn't be something to counterprogram every superhero movie with a musical, like they're doing this week? - I'm frankly very surprised that this one hasn't already happened. In a way, though, that's a good thing, because it allows everybody to get their ducks in a row; after all, nobody wants a repeat of The Producers, now do they?

In fact, it appears that Universal has held the rights to the musical for a decade, which shows tremendous foresight, because musicals have only been in vogue again for about five years. So why the delay? Universal honcho Donna Langley says, "Our goal now is absolutely to make the Wicked film, but much like Judy Craymer wouldn't give up screen rights to Mamma Mia! until the stage show had reached its pinnacle, Marc and Stephen Schwartz are very mindful of the right timing. But we're dying to do it."

And if you look at the recent headlines that indicate Mamma Mia! performances are once again enjoying brisk business in advance of the release of the film adaptation, what Donna Langley really means is, "this way, everyone gets richer."

Though we don't have such details yet, it's completely logical to let Kristin Chenoweth reprise her role as Glinda, The Good Witch of the North. She knows the part, she's a great singer, she's very photogenic, and her TV and movie career is slowly building some momentum. We also went to the same high school, so that's my trivia for the day.

I suppose you could cast Idina Menzel as the Wicked Witch of the West, since she originated that role on Broadway, although cynically, I think the studio would want a bigger name star in that very showy role.

There's no release date yet, but we'll keep you posted.

Reader Comments (44)

unfortunately I am far to lazy to read a book, so I've wanted this to happen.
Being a person that doesn't read books let me tell you that the cover on this book is AMAZING. It is simple beautiful and it makes me want to take a closer look, me being a person who does not read books.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterOrinn

Idina Menzel OWNS that roll. She proved so by winning the Tony. All those people who are huge fans of the musical know that...They will demand she be Elphaba. That is the way we want this film to be made. Let us hope that's what comes to pass. Are you reading this Universal?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBettie

Unfortunately as Phantom proved with ALW and Warners, The fans don't get what they want the studio does. Although I think Idina should definitely do the role I think Chenoweth could be replaced and I wouldn't care as much

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBerrett

No way would they cast Kristin Chenoweth. She can pull off being a teenager on stage, but that just won't work on film, no matter how young she looks for her age!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Kristen and Idina rule! But, let's not forget "The Producers". When the fans got their wish with Matthew and Nathan, well the result was not good. They were way too over the top for a movie. Was it director error. Yes, but it also was the wrong actors for the movie.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I love the book, I love the musical, I'm scared to death of the movie. I just don't want it to suck. My fear is that all the things that make the musical great will not translate well to film. Part of the spectacle is what they are able to do live on stage - it's amazing there but so easily accomplished on film. It just wouldn't seem as impressive.

That said, miracles do happen. I am a huge fan of "Chicago: The Musical" and thought that making a movie was a HUGE mistake. I had to eat those words after seeing the genius that Rob Marshall displayed when directing that.

Time will tell...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZeke

If Idina Menzel does not play Elphaba if and when they make a Wicked movie, it would be a HUGE mistake. NOBODY can pull off that role but her. Kristen is awesome too, but please, the best would be Idina.

so what if she's not a BIG NAME, she is to her fans.

and i also think that if they do make a Wicked movie, it will 100% not be as good as the actual production on Broadway. But i'm going to be majorly upset if they do not cast Idina.

Friday, July 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMadeline

I personally think not casting Idina and Kristen would be a huge mistake. So many fans would choose not to see the movie simply because of that. They each created their roles and brought them to life. Kristen has proved herself able to be on tv and i dont think it would be the same without her. And lets not forget that idina has already proved herself able to transform her character onto the big screen in RENT. with that saying i would have to agree with zeke, some of the magic might just be lost on the screen. we'll just ahve to wait and see

Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKait

I'm nervous about the movie. The book was so-so, but I'm ADDICTED to the musical, having just seen it for my sixth time last week. I don't know who they should cast as the main characters. Obviously Indina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth are the main choices, but (don't kill me) I don't think their voices are as strong as some others out there. That being said, the two of them can act well, so that's a plus.

I just hope Hollywood doesn't butcher such an AMAZING musical.

Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPopular

you can't suppose to cast Idina, you HAVE too! I'm addicted to the musical like so many and it would be incredible to see the original broadway cast as they did with Rent!

Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

I agree that Kristen and Idina are good for the roles, but the role I'm worried about is the Wizard. Obviously, 76-year-old Joel Grey would be a popular choice, but I'm not sure many people would agree. But if he doesn't get it, I'm not sure I'd feel too happy about seeing the movie, when they make it. He's just such a great, powerful actor, despite his age.

Monday, July 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterOreo

Having seen the musical (and absolutely fallen in love with it), it would be a dream-come-true to be have a WICKED movie to reprise the experience. While I am not against the idea of having Idina and Kristin as the leads, if it is visual appearance that matters (i.e. "pulling off a teenager on screen"), some younger (and equally talented) actresses who play the roles in the other productions (Australia, UK...Germany?) would be my ideal choices for the roles of Elphie and Galinda.

However, if a renowned Hollywood star who posesses neither the ability to bring the characters to life on screen (acting-wise), nor the voice to pull off Schwartz's mind-blowing score is chosen...I would be highly disappointed (as I was with Pierce Brosnan's singing in the recent Mamma Mia! and Amanda Seyfried acting in the same film).

IF they do end up making a movie of WICKED...I will PRAY they have a little consideration on who they cast as their leads.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNV

Idina is the only Elphaba! No one would be able to play that role as well as she could. She has such a beautiful voice, it would be a crime to not let her have her Tony-award winning role!

Friday, July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterI_believe_in_Angels

Teal Wicks, the actress who plays Elphaba at the Pantages in Hollywood did an amazing job as Elphaba. Her voice is stronger than Idina's, and she is younger as well. She would be a superb choice, I think. Idina is great, don't get me wrong, but Teal Wicks would do just as well in my opinion.

Friday, July 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterme

Also, has anyone considered Reese Witherspoon for Glinda? Watching her in Legally Blonde made me think that she could pull off the part well.

Friday, July 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterme

I'm all for Idina playing Elphaba. She deserves it. ...but my favorite Glinda has to be Kendra Kassebaum. I think she would do well... anyway nothing scares me and excites me more than Wicked: The Movie. The only thing I can say is I only hope the movie makes people want to see the musical and not scare them away from it instead...

Sunday, July 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Everyone needs to move on, there is more to Wicked than the original Broadway cast. I have seen loads of Elphabas and i have to say they are all better than Idina...i had to listen to Idina for 8 shows a week in London and i have to say she was half decent about twice a week!!!
Seriously MOVE ON!!!

I think reese witherspoon would be good as Glinda...but can she sing? remember its a Musical...unless they translate the book into film and not the musical...because its (in my opinion) alot better the book is darker and has more depth to it.
The musical is all pretty colours and amazing singers they have taken alot of the story out of that one.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternicholson

okay, so saying that idina menzel is not a well known name is absolutely absurd... anyone who has heard of wicked and has fallen in love with wicked knows who idina menzel is... she's on the soundtrack, so every time you go to listen to your favorite wicked hits... BAM! there's idina menzel... now, idina may not be as well known as say, katherine heigl, amy adams, or angelina jolie... but she is very well known and has a huge fan base...

with all that being said, I've seen several ladies play elphaba, and the only one that i felt totally embodied that role was idina... she was absolutely phenomenal! and i know people will flip their lids if she isn't elphaba

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercbrdlik

I think they would both be great for the roles. Idina did a fabulous job in RENT when it went to the big screen so why wouldn't she be able to pull it off in Wicked? Kristen is a wonderful actress and has been on tv plenty of times. I think they sound amazing together. They harmonize so well. Gives me cold chills everytime I listen to them sing together. I think they should atleast be given the opportunity to do the movie if there is going to be one. If they aren't interested, go looking for someone else, but definately give them a chance.

Friday, August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

I personally think that the movie would be better without the "big name" actors or actresses. It would take away from the magic of the musical if they simply took a big name over someone who would totally BE that role. Idina made that role what it is and I would absolutely love to see her in the movie if they make one, or one of the other fabulous actresses that have played it on stage. The RENT movie is absolutely AMAZING, and it did it without using the "big name" overused actors, it used the ones who obviously understood and did such a fabulous job on those roles.
I personally would rather they waited quite a while to make Wicked a movie because I love it on stage so much and I'm afraid making musicals into movies while the musical is still doing great on stage will kill musical theatre.

Monday, August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWicked_lover

I do agree somewhat with that. Musicals are always much less...akward onstage than in movies. It seems more natural for people to randomly break into song and do a choreographed dance onstage as opposed to the big screen. There are exceptions, of course. Hairspray the movie was VERY well done and is the most natural film musical i have seen.
We as fans of the musical have to understand, though, that wicked was amazing onstage partially because of what they were able to pull off onstage. We are so used to special effects that the effect will not be the same in a movie. I will still go see it, undoubtably, but i think that the play will always be better than the movie, no matter who they cast or what special effects they manage to use.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterme

I'm so excited now, they should use both Kristin and Idina. I think they should do it like Cats, do it as a stage production, not like Hairspray and RENT where they make it into a proper film. It would keep more of the magic.

"No way would they cast Kristin Chenoweth. She can pull off being a teenager on stage, but that just won't work on film, no matter how young she looks for her age!"
That person has obviously never seen Dr Who, if they can make David Tennant look like a 90 year old man they can make Kristin Chenoweth look like a teenager.

Thursday, August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ

idina is a good singer. i have the soundtrack. but i agree with i_believe_in_Angels... Teal Wicks can do the job also. i love her voice. it's richer & more stable than idina's. she took my breath away with wizard & i which was her first solo in the musical... i think she could definitely give idina a run for her money! i love her! i wish she did the soundtrack too! i'd definitely buy her version!

Thursday, August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenteraelydaIII

annaleigh ashford was an amazing glinda! and she's young enough to pull of a teenager in the film! and what about stephanie j block as elphaba??

Friday, August 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternmcd

I personally would Love to see a Wicked Movie but not based solely on the play. Don't get me wrong the play was amazing but the book was 100X better. For people who didn't read the book and are thinking of seeing the musical read the book before you go. You'll actually understand things a lot faster. Me and my mom understood the play on a different level then my father and sister.When the movie is made Idina and Kristen better play the lead roles. (oh and there is a third book coming out in the Wicked series. CANT WAIT!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterxcutedeadskullx

SUPPOSE Idina Menzel could be Elphaba? There is no question she should. Nobody else should even be considered.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTara

kristin and idina should definately reprise their roles.....they ARE glinda and elphaba.
to not have them would eliminate a strong fan base that is all ready in place. there is talk of their ages, but they both look phenomenal and could pull off the roles. once they open their mouths and sing, audiences will forget about any 'age issues.'

Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercara

I don't understand why everyone thinks Idina HAS to do it, and that only real fans of the show will see it if it's her. News flash: If you're a REAL fan of the show, you'll see it no matter who it is in the leads. I think having both the original leads in the roles would be bad. ''Producers'' and "Rent" did so, and both were box-office flops.

I love Idina, but I would never say she is the best actress the grace the role. Stephanie J. Block simply blows her away. Eden Espinosa as well, and why not toss in Kerry Ellis to the list?

But still, by the time this movie is done, these women will all be way too old to pull it off.

The only ones who will be truly truly truly upset and not see this movie are the hard-head Fanzels who think the world revolves around Idina.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I for one think that they should put Idina as Elphaba. She has such a powerful voice in this musical. she did an amazing job in rent, but the roles are so different, and she didn't get to really display her amazing vocal talents in it. I think this WILL make her a big star. Anyway, tons of movies that rated well didn't have big stars for the major roles, but they were still popular. Take Phantom of the opera.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteremma

Teal Wicks is the embodiment of Elphaba Thropp. Her voice, the way she inhabits the character on stage, far outshines Idina Menzel, in my opinion. I wish so dearly that the audio recording featured Teal. The musical is EXTRAORDINARY !! I love it more than any other I've seen, including Phantom of the Opera. The novel is the BEST work of fiction I've ever read.That being said I feel a movie based on the musical would be DREADFUL. You just cant capture the MAGIC in a movie...i.e. "Phantom". Now a movie based on the novel...WOW!! That has the potential to be SPECTACULAR!! If written true to the novel it could be the greatest epic tragedy of the 21st century. Sadly we all know which direction Hollywood wil take.

Sunday, September 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia

Idina owns all other actresses who have played Elphaba, past or present. i am very excited to see wicked in november, but no idina will be a disapointment. She originated the role, she set the bar way too high and no others can have the chemistry that Idina and Kristin have. I'm not as set on casting kristin, but i think i'd boycott the movie if idina wasn't cast as elphaba

Friday, September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbee


Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElphie

All those who say Idina shouldn't get the role are whack jobs..... no offense but seriously she is an awesome singer and actress. SO WHAT if she is not a big star like Katherine Heigl, Mariska Hargitay, etc. she is big to her fans and thats all that matters. I too am cautious but I just want to see my favorite musical made into a movie. If they can't get Idina or Kristin I think they should have Kerry Ellis and Kendra Kassenbaum I saw them this summer in WICKED (which I saw for the 8th time) and they were awesome.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrentandwickedrock

idina should be ELPHABA! she already won a tony award, isn't that enough?

Friday, October 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercs19

ok so don't kill me but wicked was probably the worst musical i've seen. it's a real blockbuster, a musical for non theater fans. i thought it lacked depth and focused to much on effects. i just can't stand people who think they're theater fans because they saw and liked wicked. i do however love idina menzel and kristin chenoweth though. i'm looking forward to the film of wicked because i found the stage production trying to put a movie on stage, so i honestly think it would be a ton better on stage. to the person who said they should keep it on the stage like cats (which i'm seeing tomorrow!) i disagree, of any musical i think this one was meant to be full out and off stage. i think it would be great if they tried to copy The Wizard of Oz's movie set, and i also think that would attract more people, because it would be more familiar.

Friday, October 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterummmmhi

sorry i mean i think it would be a ton better off stage

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterummmmhi

Ok, people, get a grip on the whole Idina Menzel thing, please. I don't mean to be rude, but you've really got to tone it down a bit. Yes, she's good, but you can't just say she's the best because she was the first Elphaba if you haven't even heard the other actresses LIVE who have played her. My personal favorite by far is Teal Wicks (who I thought was absolutely phenomenal in LA), but I know other people who don't like her. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and just because you think Idina Menzel is the ONLY person who can play Elphaba, it doesn't mean everyone thinks that. The producers will choose who they think is right for the job, and I doubt anything we yell at them or threaten them with will change who they pick.

Also, you can't use the movie Rent as an example of using the original broadway cast so they should do it with Wicked. Rent didn't do that well because they cast people who weren't convincingly the age they were supposed to be playing. Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel may look young for their age, but they don't look like they are in their early twenties. To make this movie convincing, you need actresses who can sing and who look in their early twenties. They need to make this movie right, not just use names for the sake of using names. Now, it would be cool if Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth made cameos in the movie, sort of like a tipping our hats to them for being the first G(a)linda and Elphaba.

Ok, after all my ranting and raving and saying that the producers probably won't listen to who we think should play Elphaba or G(a)linda, I'm going to put my own two cents in for that. I personally would love to see Teal Wicks in the movie. She's young, looks young, has a phenomenal voice (to me), and has wonderful facial expressions as she acts. I really have no opinion on G(a)linda at this moment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLadyKnight

IDINA MADE THIS MUSICAL. i have never heard any better singer. who cares if shes not big enough anyone else would not have the voice of elphaba as she does.

Saturday, November 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Hassler

For all those saying Idina should play the role...... I don't know if it will work. I LOVE IDINA, however the studio will want a bigger name star for one (ie John Travolta playing Edna in Hairspray when Harvey Fierstein was WAY better at the role). Also by the time they make the movie Idina and Kristen will be far too old to play the parts. It was a stretch for them to play the parts on Broadway 5 years ago. I love them both dearly, but I think that the studio will go with different people for the roles. I personally would love it if they got Dee Roscioli and Erin Mackey, but neither of them are big name actresses in the film industry. I just think we shouldn't get our hopes up for Chenzel...... I DOUBT it's going to happen!

Monday, November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Idina and Kristen are too old to play the roles on film. Sorry, but that's a fact. It would be like casting Sarah Brightman in the 2004 Phantom of the Opera when she's too old to pull off the ingenue role.

Now... perhaps Reese Witherspoon, if she can sing well.... I think she'd make a perfect Glinda.

Or perhaps Ashley Tisdale?

Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRLSteve

I will be personally upset if they don't cast Menzel!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteridinalover

personally, i don't believe kristin or idina are mandatory to make this movie amazing though they are extraordinary performers. i saw wicked in houston by different performers and i was completely blown away! wicked is most definitely my favorite musical ever! honestly, i hope i find out about auditions in time to try out and land a part. then maybe i can finally be an actress.

Monday, May 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXwickedxhopefulX

um okay people need to stop wihining Idina is amazing and perfect and i love her and she did such an amazing job. But there are better ones, and I bet with a lot that she will not be cast. Blah i know, but people out there like Stephanie J. Block, Teal wicks, Shoshana and Eden, and the Best hot Donna Vivino, she could be beat. And kristin will not be cast i guarentte. she is too old. A glinda of mine that is my favorite is Katie Rose Clarke-- she to me reminds me so much of Kristin-- her voice i mean. Listen on youtube and she Can ACT !!! listen-- oh and Annaleigh is NOT gettting cast-- she is terrible at acting

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterme

Definitely Teal Wicks! She owns all the other actresses who have played Elphaba. Her improvement from the LA production to San Francisco is huge. She has since surpassed Idina Menzel in the role. Her acting is superb and her beautiful, fuller voice soars and renders you speechless. She's only in her twenties, too, and drop-dead gorgeous.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTealForGood

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