Director Stephen Daldry Exits ‘Wicked’ Movie Adaptation Due To Pandemic | Film News


Universal’s adaptation of famed musical Wicked has been gestating for a while, and it might be doing so for a little bit longer, as the film version has just lost its director. Stephen Daldry has exited the project due to complications stemming from the current pandemic.


Per Deadline, Daldry’s exit is amicable. He had reportedly hoped to shoot the film in London, but due to a shortage of stage space, that won’t be possible given Universal’s timetable.


Waiting for stage space to free up would’ve forced the studio to delay the project, something Universal didn’t want to do, as they’re reportedly eager to begin production before the end of next year.


Daldry had been attached to the adaptation for several years. His exit is certainly understandable given the state of the world, but it seems Universal wanted to get into production quickly at a time when that’s harder than ever. Considering Daldry was on board for a number of years, that might push Wicked‘s production back anyway since the new director is going to have to play catch-up.


Deadline reports that J.J. Abrams, James Mangold, Ryan Murphy and Rob Marshall were all interested in helming a Wicked adaptation, but that was way back in 2010. Things have surely changed. We’ll wait and see who signs on, and whether Universal insisting on beginning production before the end of 2020 limits their choices of director.


Songwriter Stephen Schwartz and book writer Winnie Holzman have teamed up on the script for Wicked. It’s a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz that focuses on the early relationship between the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. Based on the Gregory Maguire novel, the musical went on to become one of the highest-grossing Broadway shows of all time.


Wicked actually began as a feature film before Universal changed their tune and decided to take it to the stage instead. The musical has since performed so well for Universal’s theatre division that the studio’s feature team has been incredibly patient in developing the project, not wanting to rush it and risk disrupting a cash cow.


The film will probably be a hit, unless it turns into the next Cats, which is unlikely. Studios developing musicals will be doing everything they can to avoid a disaster like that.



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