Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Wicked Movie Musical Musings

There's no doubt in my mind that the stage musical of Wicked will eventually get adapted into a film at some point. In fact Wicked was originally planned as a movie musical by Universal Studios but they decided to make it into a stage musical first. However, despite my love of Wicked, I'm much less excited about the thought of a movie adaptation than I was about a Les Miserables filmI think I'd rather they simply filmed the stage version of Wicked in front of a live audience. They could simultaneously screen it live into cinemas and then release it on DVD a few months later, similar to what they did with the 25th anniversary concerts of Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera. 2013 is actually the 10th anniversary of Wicked so it would be a great time to do it! There are a few reasons why I'm apprehensive about a film adaptation. Here's why:
  1. Oz the Great and Powerful came out very recently and I think the general public might see another Wizard of Oz prequel as being Oz-overkill.
  2. The choice of director. Stephen Daldry has apparently been approached to direct Wicked and I'm kind of anxious about that. Whether Daldry actually ends up directing I don't know but he seems like a really odd and bizarre choice for Wicked. I hope I'm wrong but I just can't imagine him being able to pull it off. All of Daldry's films seem like serious, realistic dramas and Wicked isn't like that. Yes it does have its serious and sad moments but it's a fantasy, it's a lot of fun and it has quite a bit of humour. And Wicked needs to be directed by someone who can handle special effects and spectacle. There are a lot of scenes in the stage musical that have the potential to look stupid in a film adaptation if they're not done well, like any scene with Elphaba and Glinda flying. Joss Whedon would be a far better choice to direct Wicked than Stephen Daldry. He's proved that he can handle special effects and spectacle with The Avengers. He's also a massive fan of musicals. He directed the Buffy episode Once More, With FeelingDr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and an episode of Glee. J.J. Abrams would have been a much better choice to Wicked as well. It was even rumoured that he was interested in directing Wicked for a while. 
  3. The cast. They need strong singers and this is especially important for Elphaba and Glinda. They're challenging, vocally demanding roles and should only be played by actresses who are trained singers and have musical theatre experience. Now at the risk of annoying other Wicked fans I have to say that I'm not one of those fans who thinks that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth should reprise their roles as Elphaba and Glinda. As brilliant as they both were when they originated the roles on Broadway, they're just too old to play the characters now. Elphaba and Glinda are supposed to be university students in their 20s. Idina Menzel is now 42 and Kristin Chenoweth is 44! On stage the age gap doesn't matter as much but casting the two of them in a film adaptation just wouldn't work at all. It would be really nice if they could be given cameos somewhere in the film though, like they did with Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle in the Les Mis film. They could play Elphaba and Glinda's mothers perhaps.
But despite my reservations I do have ideas on the cast I'd like to see for a Wicked movie. I think Samantha Barks should play Elphaba. She's got the right vocal range for it and she's even said in the past that Elphaba is one of her dream roles. I can definitely see her being considered for the role too. The Les Mis film was a huge hit, her Eponine was very well received, and she even got to perform at the Oscars. I think I'd rather see her play Elphaba in the stage version but it would be great if she got the role in the film. I think she'd make a great Elphaba, and as she's so attractive she would probably still look beautiful even with green skin! Barks also sang Defying Gravity when she was on the BBC's I'd Do Anything and she does a really good job.



I don't think her version of this song is amazing but considering that she was only 17 at the time, and didn't have very much musical theatre experience, I think she sings it really well. Now she's 22, she's been in Les Mis and Oliver!, and her voice has really improved since then. I know I'd much rather see Barks play Elphaba than Lea Michele, who has been the rumoured favourite to play Elphaba on film for the last few years. I do think Lea Michele is a great singer but I wasn't that impressed with her versions of Defying Gravity and For Good when she sang them on Glee. I find it really hard to imagine her acting the role as well. Michele certainly wouldn't be the worst choice to play Elphaba though.

I also want Aaron Tveit to play Fiyero. I really loved his Enjolras in Les Mis and I think he may even be my favourite now : ) He's also gorgeous and he's actually played Fiyero before on Broadway. You can hear him singing with Kerry Ellis here:



And you can see Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit both singing here when the cast from the Les Mis film performed One Day More at the Oscars. I love this performance! I love how everyone is in character and how Tveit strides out and then completely owns the stage! And you can see Ramin Karimloo standing behind Hugh Jackman at one point! My only small complaint is that you can't really hear Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter that well.



As for the rest of the Wicked cast...  Boq and Nessarose are both fairly small roles and will probably be played by stage actors or talented unknowns. I'm not too bothered about who plays them. I'd be really happy if Anthony Stewart Head got to play the Wizard. This would be a brilliant casting choice. He's a great singer, a great actor and he can be very funny. I'd also love Imelda Staunton to play Madame Morrible because she was so brilliant when I saw her in Sweeney Todd. By far the toughest role to cast is Glinda.
I'd argue that this is the most vocally challenging role in Wicked because an actress playing her has got to be able to belt and sing legit soprano, whereas all an actress playing Elphaba has to do is belt. Glinda is a really tough one to cast because I can't really think of any big-name actresses with a good enough soprano for the part. Anne Hathaway is now slightly too old for the role. I really liked Amanda Seyfried as Cosette but she still wouldn't be ideal casting. They should probably go for a stage actress to play Glinda. Gina Beck is one of my favourite Glindas and she'd be a great choice. Katie Hall would also be a great choice. I saw her play Christine again in Phantom of the Opera recently and she was fantastic. She was even better than when I first saw her. And Hall also played Cosette in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis so she'd have picked up some more fame because of that. Argh! This is hard! Again I keep coming back to the idea that they should just film the stage version of Wicked.

What do you think?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I 100% agree that they should just film the stage performace!! I just saw Wicked for the first time June 28th. It was the greatest thing that I have ever seen in my life!! It was so good that I went back to enter the Wicked lottery the next day to see it again. Believe it or not, I actually won. I live in NC so I live too far away to see it again any time soon. Also, the Wicked tour is not coming any where close to me. I have watched every clip of Wicked on youtube since I have gotten home. To be honest, I adore the current cast. I LOVE Katie Rose Clarke as Glinda and Derrick Klena as Fiyero. They were amazing!!! They should just film this cast ASAP and PLEASE get us Wicked the film soon!! Maybe by Christmas??

Indigo Montoya said...

If I had my way I'd like a big 10th anniversary concert of Wicked to be put in in New York later this year. It would be streamed live worldwide and the DVD would come out for Christmas. That way people like you - who live far away from New York or London - can discover Wicked and re-watch it to their heart's content : ) And then they could do a movie within the next 2-3 years.

I'm not too familiar with Broadway/American Wicked performers I'm afraid. I should really do more YouTube research! I'll definitely check out Katie Rose Clarke and Derrick Klena now : )

Anonymous said...

Adam Lambert has played Fiyero as well, and he still looks 20. Thoughts?

Indigo Montoya said...

Lambert is a really good singer but I wasn't very impressed with his acting when I saw him in some "Wicked" YouTube videos. He wouldn't be my personal choice to play Fiyero in a "Wicked" movie.

Anonymous said...

THANK you! Finally someone else who doesn't want Lea Michelle to be Elphaba beyond the "I hate Glee" people. There's no denying her singing chops, she's a phenomenal performer, but doesn't have the acting ability to do the character any kind of justice. She's too self-centered: All her performances are about her. Not the character or the story. It works great in concerts and with characters like Rachel (who is basically Lea Micelle anyway) but would be terrible (and I highly suspect alienating) for a movie audience. THANK you! I also ADORED your idea of Anthony Head for the Wizard!

Indigo Montoya said...

And thank you! I'm really glad you liked the post and that I'm not the only one thinks ASH would make a brilliant Wizard! : D

louise said...

Hello, dont hate me but I think anna kendrick could be contender for elphaba. Did u see the you tube of her with Kristin Chenoweth, its good an unlikely candidate... perhaps theyl go for something less obvs then samantha barks.. who would also be good mind. In the same breatj..id prefer a dvd of the stage show any day. Xxx

Indigo Montoya said...

I don't hate you! : ) I've heard Anna Kendrick singing and she does have a great voice. But unless she's hiding an amazing belt I don't think her voice is right for Elphaba. She'd make a great Nessarose or Glinda though (she's playing Cinderella in the upcoming Into the Woods so she must be able to sing soprano)

Indigo Montoya said...

I don't hate you! : ) I've heard Anna Kendrick singing and she does have a great voice. But unless she's hiding an amazing belt I don't think her voice is right for Elphaba. She'd make a great Nessarose or Glinda though (she's playing Cinderella in the upcoming Into the Woods so she must be able to sing soprano)