Jon M. Chu Directing The Wicked Movie

Jon M. Chu

by James White |
Published on

Despite its long-running success on stage, the (Yellow Brick) road for Wicked to the big screen has been fraught with delays and changes, most recently the loss of director Stephen Daldry, who left the project concerned that Universal's push to have it made was happening too quickly (and the lack of available soundstage space in London). Now, Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is taking over the film.

Wicked is based on Gregory Maguire’s novel series, which takes a fresh eye to the background of Glinda and, as she’s called in the books, Elphaba, aka the Wicked Witch Of The West.

The twist here is that the story (in the musical, it starts before Dorothy arrives and then weaves a little bit in and out of the 1939 film’s events) is told from Elphaba’s point of view, the green-skinned outsider who will become the Wicked Witch through circumstances that are not completely her fault. And who may not be as evil as we've been led to believe... The musical's book writer Winnie Holzman and composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz wrote the screenplay for the film version, while may also feature some new music.

Stars aligned for Chu to take on the job – he was attached to the Disney+ Willow TV sequel, but he had to step away because of Covid travel restrictions and he and his wife expecting a new baby. So now he'll head for Oz. It'll mark the latest musical movie for him, following In The Heights, which will debut this year following its own Covid delay.

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