When I worked in a travel agency part of winter 2009/10 one of the popular enquiries I received was for short theatre city breaks to London and to see the popular westend show Wicked. I would average about 12 enquiries (via myself only) per day which is a lot for a small office and the other staff also received enquiries too, so when I hear that Wicked is going to be adapted for the big screen im not at all surprised.
The creative minds of the broadway show Winnie Holzmann, Mark Patt, Steven Schwartz have met some of Hollywood directors who have some experience in musical movies along with J.J Abrams about adapting the musical which is based on a Gregory Maguire book called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The book itself is based onthe story of the wicked witch of the west from L.Frank Baum’s classic story Wizard of Oz but in the book the witch is more a heroine than she is in the origianl story and film.
The directors in mind are Rob Marshall who brought us Chicage, Moulin Rouge (the movie that made musical popular again), Ryan Murphy the co-creator of the youth musical tv show Glee and James Mangold whom directed Walk The Line the movie based on the story of Johnny Cash. I also mentioned J.J Abrams appart from the opening jingle of Lost he is the only director who doesn’t have any experience of movies/tv shows of a musical nature but the Wicked team/Universal obiviously want to consider all candidates.
Even though Universal are very serious about getting this project up and running Deadline report there’s been no time frame been created to get this project started and if it does go ahead it could be quite a few years down the line before even a script is wrote. Wizard of Oz reated movies seem to be on the rise with Disney with 2 projects about to start (or started) one a retelling of the 1939 classic movie the other the soom to be directed Sam Raimi The Great and Poweful Oz.
With the possible movie version of Wicked on the cards, the creation of the movie could work positively as well negatively against the musical which is still playing sucessfully worldwide. The positive it could attract new people to the story hence attract them to check out the show but it could also chase them away if the movie version isn’t to the high standard of the stage musical, hence loss of box office revenue. It will be interesting to see who ever takes the helm if they follow the stage version or do they follow the book version and if its the latter the movie will be a lot more darker and is probably why JJ Abrams is interested in this musical!