Crazy Rich Asians and In The Heights director John M.Chu is directing the musical adaptation and said that Grande and her Tony award-winning counterparty Cynthia Erivo who is playing Elphaba, were “otherworldly” when auditioning for their roles.
“These two witches!!,” he captioned an Instagram post sharing the casting news in November 2021.
“The emotional moment I got to tell @cynthiaerivo and @arianagrande that they were our Elphaba and Galinda in the @wickedmovie for @unistudios 😭😭😭 wait until you see what they bring!!"
The viral casting news soon gained the attention of the OG Elphaba, Idina Menzel, who wrote via Instagram, “Congrats to two amazing women. May it change your lives for the better forever and ever as it has for us. So much love. @cynthiaerivo @arianagrande 💚💖."
The Rent actress, who starred opposite Kristin Chenoweth during the original Broadway run, reunited with the Oklahoma native during the 2021 Tony Awards that September, where they sang an emotional rendition of For Good from the production.
Whilst it is exciting to see production get underway in what has been a decade-long effort to bring WICKED to life on screens across the globe, eager fans have been asked to exercise patience.
“As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of WICKED into a single film without doing some real damage to it,” director John Chu said via Twitter.
“As we tried to cut songs or trim characters, those decisions began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years.
“We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one WICKED movie but TWO!!! With more space, we can tell the story of WICKED as it was meant to be told while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys for these beloved characters”.
WICKED Part One will hit theaters in December 2024 and WICKED Part Two will premiere in December 2025.