Munchkins rejoice! Wicked, the film based off one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all time, finally . Rumors have been swirling about the magical musical making its way to the silver screen , but it would seem it’s been a hard journey to get there as more and more time went by with no news. Well soon we all be defying gravity as Universal finally came through, announcing that the big screen adaption of Wicked will officially hit theaters on December 20th, 2019. Thank goodness!
The release date was the easy part; the much more important and larger task lay in front of Universal yet: casting Elphaba and Glinda. When looking at who in Hollywood could tackle these iconic roles, you don’t have to look much further than a little animated film named Frozen, and its two stars — Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell — aka Anna and Elsa. Yes, I am calling for A Frozen/Wicked crossover, and I think Hollywood is on the same page.
Anna and Elsa, Defying Gravity
To be honest, I’m not really at the place where I can discuss absolutely anyone else being cast as the Wicked leads. No argument can be made against the fact that Idina Menzel was made to play Elphaba. Her performance as Oz’s resident wicked witch in the original Broadway cast was really the core of what made Wicked the sensation it was. Could you really imagine anyone else’s voice powering through “Defying Gravity” the way Idina does? Not only that, Idina has proven time and time again she can easily crossover into film and film musicals, like she did for the film-adaptation of Rent where she played Maureen.
I know what you are thinking: she is too old, Hollywood will never go for it and cast her as the college-aged girl with a heart as green as gold, but hear me out. Hollywood is ageist — yes — and maybe I am reaching, but come on. Look at half the actors they cast to play teens and college kids nowadays *cough* The CW *cough*.
They are definitely not teens. Look at Alexis Bledel, who was over 10 years older than her 15 year-old character on Gilmore Girls. Same goes for actresses like Sarah Hyland, Jennifer Lawrence, and Mila Kunis. Hollywood can overcome its ageist problem if the fans demand it.
The bottom line is Universal wants Wicked to be huge. Why do you think it has taken so long to get off of the ground? Studios and producers want to be 100% sure this endeavor will succeed, that the right audience is primed and ready to turn it into box office gold. So why on this green earth would Hollywood miss the chance to reunite one of the most beloved big screen couplings of recent years? Frozen grossed over . That, my friends, is a box office goldmine that Wicked has the opportunity to dig into.
Beyond looking the parts, Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell’s images and voices are some of the most widely recognized around the world, even by people who have never seen Frozen. This is key when casting a film; you need big names to bring in the money, it is just a fact.
It just so happens that these two big names don’t need to be used just for their fame, because they have the exact talents needed to fulfill the parts. I think if Hollywood didn’t cast Idina Menzel in the Wicked film adaptation, they would be missing a big opportunity to make an adaptation worthy of fans of the musical while also engaging new audiences that will drive it to box office success.
Now, let me be clear that I loved Kristin Chenoweth in the Broadway show and it would be my dream to have her in the film alongside her original Broadway co-star, but I will be the first to admit her casting really is reaching. At almost 50 years old, I don’t believe — as I do Idina — that Chenoweth could pull off playing a college kid.
Kristen Bell however? Yeah! The woman still looks 16 years-old (reminder: google Kristin Bell’s beauty routine). Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are like peanut butter and jelly. Hollywood just needs to take a page from Wicked itself, and learn how to be “Popular” with the fans by overcoming its ageism problem and listening to them. I truly think that as we speak, discussions are being had out the possibility of Idina and Kristin leading Wicked, and crazier casting decisions have happened before.
Some Other Wicked Options
I’ll be the first to admit that my dream cast is a bit of a long shot, and while I stand by it, Tinseltown does have an exceptional array of talented women in the market. I hope, however, Universal doesn’t lazily pick the same actors we see in every film/musical adaptation, like Anna Kendrick and Anne Hathaway. Both are exceptionally talented, but give us something fresh Hollywood! Audiences want it.
I think that’s why they green-lit the Wicked film when they did. Audiences are more interested in musicals now than in recent memory, and fresh talents are ripe for the picking. Renée Elise Goldsberry, who recently won the Tony award for best featured actress in a musical for Hamilton, would make an outstanding Elphaba. Even Emily Blunt, who was nominated for an Oscar for her vocals in the film adaptation of Into The Woods, or actress and singer Zendaya are few I think should be considered .
As for Glinda, Disney star Olivia Hoult comes to mind, as does one of my favorites, Megan Hilty. If it is done, and cast, right, Wicked the film could transcend its Broadway roots and reach millions worldwide, changing them for the better.
Oh, and no matter who you think should play Elphaba and Glinda, I think we all can agree that The Flash‘s Grant Gustin should be Fiyero, right? Hey, maybe all we have to do to find the right cast is look to the northern sky, and click our heels three times.
Twitter: @AmieBohannon So basically I fangirl, professionally. Also I assure you I am the droid you’ve been searching for. Milk was a bad choice.