Idina Menzel Admits It's 'Hard' to Not Be Playing Elphaba in Upcoming 'Wicked' Movie: 'I Miss Her'

Idina Menzel shares the "honest truth" of how she feels about the upcoming Wicked movie, after originating the role of Elphaba on Broadway 19 years ago

Idina Menzel of "Wicked"
Idina Menzel in Wicked. Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty

For Idina Menzel, the upcoming Wicked film adaptation is bittersweet.

In a recent interview with Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek, the actress and singer said she has been asked about the two-part movie — which will star Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, the character Menzel originated on Broadway in 2003, and Ariana Grande as Glinda — "a lot," and that her "honest answer" has multiple layers.

"The answer is, yes, I'm very excited and I know it's in great hands and I've sent so much love to Cynthia and Ariana and I'm there for them if they need me," she said. "And yes, I'm a little sad that I'm just older and can't play the role, you know? And that's the honest truth."

Menzel, 51, admitted that it's "hard" not to be stepping into Elphaba's curly-toed shoes for the movie, explaining, "It's the aging and the proprietorship of the role and what it means to me and how it changed my life. I just love it, and I miss her, I guess, is what I'm trying to say."

But she is also looking at her predecessors for career-staying proof. "Julie Andrews didn't get to play Eliza in [the film version of] My Fair Lady, right? But then she had Sound of Music," said Menzel.

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Universal's film adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical ⁠— based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire ⁠— was first announced all the way back in 2016.

Jon M. Chu, the mastermind behind Crazy Rich Asians and the film adaptation of Broadway's In the Heights, was later tapped to helm the Wicked movie in February 2021. Then, that November, Erivo, 35, and Grande, 28, were announced as leads Elphaba and Glinda.

Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, who co-wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway show, are adapting the screenplay, while Marc Platt will return as a producer.

In the original stage production, Menzel starred opposite Kristin Chenoweth, who portrayed the role of Glinda.

RELATED VIDEO: Idina Menzel Congratulates Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo on Wicked Casting News: "So Much Love"

While chatting with PEOPLE about her new QVC clothing line Encore last month, Menzel opened up about how she would be interested in making an appearance in the Wicked movie.

"If they asked me to do it at the age of 51, I would say, sure — just put a little Vaseline on the lens, throw some green makeup on me, use a little CGI and I'll look gorgeous," she joked, laughing. "But no, it's all good. That ship has sailed."

Asked what advice she'd give the two stars, Menzel said she would tell them, "Just to enjoy the moment, enjoy the process and remember the legacy of the show and how many young people it resonates with and speaks to."

"It's allowed for so many young people to really embrace their power and what makes them really special in the world," the Broadway icon added. "[So I would remind them] just to keep that in mind every day when they're on set, and to remember why they're doing it and who they're doing it for."

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