Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande to Star in Wicked Film Adaptation
Thank goodness! The Wicked movie has found its leading witches.
Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo are set to star in the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively. The actresses, as well as director Jon M. Chu, announced the news on Instagram Thursday.
"These two witches!!" Chu wrote alongside photos of Grande and Erivo finding out they'd been cast. "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!! It is other worldly. Ahhhhh!!!"
In a post of her own, Erivo shared a photo of a pink and green floral arrangement that Grande had sent her with a note that read: "Dear Cynthia, honored doesn't even begin to cover it. I cannot wait to hug you. See you in Oz."
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Grande also received flowers from her costar in Glinda and Elphaba's signature colors and a note that began with "pink goes good with green."
"Congratulations Miss A, the part was made for you," Erivo wrote. "I look forward to sharing this musical journey with you."
The musical is based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, and tells the story of Elphaba's life prior to becoming known as the Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (which was later adapted into the classic 1939 film starring Judy Garland).
The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards, as well as a Grammy Award.
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"Most of my life I have felt out of place, weird and different," Chu wrote at the time in a statement on Twitter. "I hid behind my camera because people liked to be filmed and I could disappear. I used my short films to wow people so I could feel valued. I felt GREEN in all the ways."
"But when I saw Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's WICKED over 15 years ago as it was being workshopped in San Francisco I couldn't unsee it," he continued. "So to think that I have been invited to bring this timeless story to the biggest screens all around the world for people to experience with their family, best friends and total strangers… of all walks of life, ages, shapes and colors is like I've been invited to Oz by the Wizard himself."
Erivo is a two-time Oscar nominee. She was nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in Genius: Aretha. She already has won both a Grammy and a Tony for her performance in The Color Purple.
Grande is a multi-platinum pop star who boasts two Grammys. She began her career on Broadway, acting in the musical 13 in 2008 before joining Nickelodeon for Victorious and the spinoff Sam & Cat. In 2016, she starred as Penny Pingleton in the NBC television special Hairspray Live!.
For her part, Grande has long been open about her love for the musical, even performing several songs from the show over the years. In 2018, she sang a very impressive rendition of "The Wizard and I" in front of many of the musical's biggest fans for its 15-year anniversary celebration, A Very Wicked Halloween.