Wicked is the latest musical to be getting the big screen treatment, and the project has found its new director. Jon M. Chu, the director of Crazy Rich Asians and another upcoming musical adaptation In The Heights, has signed on to helm the project. Stephen Daldry was originally attached to direct the film for Universal, but departed in October due to scheduling conflicts.
Chu said on Twitter: “Most of my life I have felt out of place, weird and different. I hid behind my camera because people liked to be filmed and I could disappear. But when I saw Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman‘s Wicked over 15 years ago as it was being workshopped in San Francisco I couldn’t unsee it.
So to think that I have been invited to bring this timeless story to the biggest screens all around the world for people to experience with their family, best friends and total strangers…of all walks of life, ages, shapes and colors is like I’ve been invited to Oz by the Wizard himself”.
Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz which tells the story of everything that happened before Dorothy arrived in Oz. Prior to prolonged theater closures, it had been one of the longest-running shows on Broadway. Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway show, is adapting the screenplay with Holzman.
It’s still unclear who will star in the film, or when it will even be released. The film was taken off Universal’s release schedule last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now that Chu has come onboard we should get a clearer picture of when production is likely to begin.
Chu makes total sense as a director. While we haven’t yet seen his adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s In The Heights, it has been completed, and will hit cinemas and HBO Max in June. No doubt Universal has seen a rough cut and determined that Chu is the right filmmaker to helm their own big musical. The success of Crazy Rich Asians also proved that Chu can handle a big ensemble project.
All these new musical adaptations stem from the success of La La Land and The Greatest Showman a few years ago, and have sustained themselves thanks to recent musical biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.
We’ll see how long this genre can ride its cinematic wave, but considering the popularity of the Broadway versions of In The Heights and Wicked, they should be fine on the silver screen as well.