Since 2012, we’ve been in this battle over the Wicked movie. It was announced and then that was that, and we’ve all been left to wonder about its status. Now though, it has found its director in Jon M. Chu! So … we’re going to eventually get it? Like … will it take another nine years for them to say who Elphaba is going to be, and then another nine for Glinda?
I, like every other musical fan, have a love-hate relationship with Wicked. Well, maybe not everyone is this way, but throughout the years, it has grated on me just how much praise is lavished upon Wicked. It’s a fine show that explores this idea of “villainy” and how quick we are to judge the villains in our pop-culture world without knowing the full story.
Yes, it was revolutionary, and yes, I love to belt out the Stephen Swartz tunes whenever I can, but it is not the greatest thing to ever come to Broadway, and everyone’s insistence that it is has made my love for this show dwindle. Much like everything else in this world, we’re forced to put our loves of pop culture under a lens and pick apart why one thing is better than something else.
It’s unnecessary and because of that, Wicked has left a bad taste in my mouth. All that being said, I’m excited to see what Jon M. Chu does with the show. If 2020 were a normal year, we would have already seen his approach to musicals with In the Heights, but from its trailers, it seems as if he understands the magical element that theatre provides for these shows and incorporated that into the way he shot the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical.
So, how will that adapt to a musical quite literally about magic? It’ll make for a beautiful story, for sure, but I also just wonder how much of the magic is going to be lost to film. Part of the joy of Wicked is seeing Elphaba fly on stage, seeing the dragon in person, and being a part of this story as an audience member. Onscreen, a lot of that magic has existed time and time again because of CGI or practical effects that aren’t as impressive as a singer being hoisted in the air for 8 shows a week (minus no-fly shows, of course).
But as I said earlier, I’m not holding my breath for a movie based on Wicked. This movie has been a joke in the Broadway community for years because it has been around for nine years with nothing coming of it. And just now we’re getting a director? There is no casting done, no other information, and honestly, I’m going to end up married with a whole family before this movie happens, and I was in college when the rumors first started.
I’ll be excited for a movie based on Wicked when I’m sitting in the audience.
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