How do you get a stage musical, that runs for two hours and 45 minutes, into a single movie? It’s something that film creatives have wrestled with for decades, and generally a degree of jiggery-pokery is required.
Look at the retooling that was done with last year’s West Side Story for instance, which ultimately accommodated the original stage production with a few changes made for the screen version.
Emerging from a long slumber in development hell is the film take on West End and Broadway hit Wicked, the story of the witches of The Wizard Of Oz. It’s been known for some time the film was on its way, and at one stage it was being earmarked for the end of 2020. That, though – and here’s the kind of cutting edge news you simply don’t get anywhere else – didn’t happen. Original director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) walked away, in came In The Heights helmer Jon M Chu, and things seemed to be back on track.
However, rather than try and fit the show into the confines of a screen production, Chu and his creative team have pulled a trick we’ve not seen for a few years: they’re splitting the movie into two parts. Yep, even though you can read the source book in a day, and catch the stage musical and be home by 11, they’ve deemed it impossible to fit Wicked into a single movie.
Chu took to his Twitter account to explain what the problem was. Here are his words…
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) April 26, 2022
Hmmm. Every other Hollywood stage musical adaptation has managed to fit one film, but Wicked now can’t. Make of that what you will.
At least the last time Hollywood split a single source film adaptation into two films – Stephen King’s It – that source in question was massive, and there was a natural break to it. Wicked? Less so. Happy to be proved wrong, but there’s a sniff of a cash grab about this. If the end of part one comes part one through one of the songs, that should confirm it.
Wicked Part I arrives at the end of 2024.
Meanwhile, why wait? Book Tickets to enjoy the Theatre production of Wicked today!