There’s been talk of a Wicked movie for a while - in fact, Wicked almost went straight to the screen rather than the stage - but now it appears that it may finally be coming to fruition. If any musical is due to get the silver screen treatment, it’s Wicked. It’s a huge hit, and its Broadway run shows no signs of ending even after almost 13 years. It’s the kind of show that even non-thespians can get behind. You’ve chosen well.
But now a word of warning: if you mess this up, there will be hell to pay. Or, you know, I’ll just be deeply unhappy.
Wicked is not just any musical. Wicked has shaped my life and many others. It was the first musical I truly loved. I think any lover of Broadway has that one gateway musical that changed the way they view and appreciate theatre, that made them a part of this crazy fan community for the long run. For me and for many, that musical was Wicked. Maybe it’s because the music is fantastic. Maybe it’s because it’s based on such a classic as Wizard of Oz. I suspect there’s more to it. Elphaba’s story is everyone’s story. It’s a story of friendship and acceptance. It may feature witches living in Oz, but it’s universal in so many ways.
Whatever you do, you cannot destroy the original story. There is one way I can think of that you could ruin the story in particular, and that is focusing on the love triangle. I know Hollywood loves its love triangles and the way in which they pit women against each other and make them seem petty in their pursuit of men. Wicked is about the friendship of two women and how it endures even when a man gets in the way - heck, even when the world gets in the way. If you’re going to scrap that and focus on the romance, just forget the whole thing. Elphaba is no damsel in distress. Don’t you dare make her into one.
Now, let’s talk casting. I know you’re going to want to cast mainstream stars who aren’t necessarily singers. Please don’t. We all saw how that went with Les Mis. I don’t want to see Russell Crowe as Doctor Dillamond. More to the point, I don’t want to hear it. You have to cast Broadway stars, and if not Broadway stars, then at least solid singers. I remember seeing a poll once about who should play Fiyero in a Wicked movie, and the options were the likes of Justin Bieber and Harry Styles. No. That’s all I have to say to that. In fact, if you’re looking for Fiyero suggestions, might I point you in the direction of Aaron Tveit, who has even played Fiyero and who was in the Les Mis movie. Plus, he’s super dreamy, so that’s a bonus. When in doubt about casting for a movie musical, go with as much of the original Broadway cast as you can. Idina and Kristin are a bit old to play college students (though they have the added asset of being nearly mainstream). Let’s not mince words. I know you are also in the habit of casting people who are way too old to play their characters (as in Grease Live). You can try to rectify the situation with movie magic, but you’d be better off casting younger, fresher talent. Emphasis on talent, of course.
Look, it’s not that I don’t trust you, but… well, I really don’t trust you. I don’t trust Hollywood to do Broadway justice. I don’t trust you not to ruin this for me with your Tom Hooper Les Mis close ups, messed up ideas of what audiences want and tonedeaf casts. Wicked has changed my life. I wrote my freaking college application essay on Wicked. It’s important to me, and I know I’m not the only one. So for our sake, please at least try to do justice to this life-changing musical.