Ever since Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West was successfully adapted into a Broadway blockbuster musical that tamed the book’s naughtier bits and turned up the glitter and bombast with song, dance, and flying-high feminism, plans for a movie adaptation have been talked about but never put into action. Idina Menzel, who lucked out (um, sorta) with the film adaptation of Rent, has long wondered if she would reprise her stage work as Elphaba alongside co-star Kristen Chenoweth (Galinda with a “Ga”) before they became too old to channel Oz-dwelling college students.
While that’s not very likely, Deadline reports that the heated race to make the next Wizard Of Oz update—along with the recent success of Mamma Mia!—has spurred preparations for a Wicked movie. Reportedly, the stage musical's producer Marc Platt, its book writer Winnie Holzman, and songwriter Stephen Schwartz have all begun talks with Hollywood directors including J.J. Abrams, James Mangold, Ryan Murphy, and Rob Marshall, marking the first clear steps toward beginning production. All but Abrams have prior musical experience: Mangold directed Walk The Line, Ryan Murphy is capitalizing on Glee’s wild popularity, and Rob Marshall succeeded and failed with Chicago and Nine, respectively. (Obviously Abrams' is a particularly compelling name in the mix, especially if he adheres closer to the novel than the show.) More meetings with potential directors are said to be scheduled for autumn.
Universal is also currently working on other big-screen musicals, including a sequel to Mamma Mia! and an adaptation of Billy Elliot—a musical that's based on the movie Billy Elliot. For those keeping score, Wicked will be a film adaptation of a stage musical that was based on a novel based on a movie based on a series of books. We just thought that needed saying.
Below is a clip of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth performing "Defying Gravity" from Wicked at the Tony Awards.