Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo Will Defy Gravity Together in the ‘Wicked’ Movie

The long-gestating film adaptation of Wicked appears to finally, actually, really be happening. On Thursday, Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo were announced as the co-leads in Jon M. Chu’s film. Grande will be the pop-ul-ar Glinda while Erivo will slather on Elphaba’s green facepaint.

It’s a dream come true for Grande, who’s been very vocal about her love of the musical and interest in playing Glinda over the years. She tweeted that it was a “dream role” back in 2011. Erivo made waves playing Aretha Franklin in Genius: Aretha earlier this year and dropped her debut album in September. You can hear her magnificent voice in Bad Times at the El Royale, where she plays waylaid soul singer Darlene Sweet.

Chu is quickly becoming Hollywood’s go-to director for feel-good entertainment, as the director behind Crazy Rich Asians and In the HeightsWicked’s fanciful setting will be his first foray into true fantasy, but he’s already displayed a knack for creating real, lived-in worlds in his other features, so he seems like a a good fit for this musical trip to Oz. The musical, based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel, gives the Wicked Witch of West’s side of the story in the whole Wizard of Oz situation, painting a far more sympathetic portrait of one of movie history’s most famous villains. Such “what if bad, but good?” narrative flip flops are common today (see Cruella and Maleficent) but Maguire’s novel kickstarted the trend, and none of its imitators have a song as good as “Defying Gravity.”

On Instagram, Grande and Erivo posted photos of hearing they’d gotten their respective parts.

 

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A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande)

 

 

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