After much anticipation, it was recently announced that Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo will be playing the roles of Glinda and Elphaba, respectively, in the film adaptation of the iconic musical Wicked.
The film was set to start production in 2012 but was, clearly, pushed back several times. This is one of the first announcements of any progress made on the film since then. Reports have come out that production will begin June 2022.
The internet has been up in arms since the cast announcement. All types of emotions have been coming from all different directions, and it feels as if the cast has not even been given a chance to prove themselves.
Emotional reactions appear to begin inside the Broadway community itself. Shortly after it was announced Erivo and Grande would be starring in the production, Broadway actor Taylor Louderman posted on her Instagram story a screenshot of a cast announcement article from Deadline and captioned it, “Yyyy did I even audition or think I had a chance?!”
She followed the post with a teary selfie captioned, “This business … you can’t care too much about any role you’re auditioning for (or you could get hurt & won’t come back) but you have to care enough to give it your all,” and “I cared too much this time. I hope it’s okay that I’m sharing this.”
For those who don’t know, Louderman is a Broadway actress known for originating the role of Regina George in Mean Girls the musical as well as starring in the live action TV adaptation of Peter Pan.
Some found Louderman’s comments in poor taste as it felt she was attempting to diminish the achievements of Grande and Erivo. It’s understandable to be upset about not getting a role one was really invested in, but to parade around social media whining about it feels improper.
That wasn’t the only reaction that came from the Broadway community. On social media, some musical theater fans questioned Grande’s place in the role as Glinda, a heavy singing role that may not be suited for her singing style.
People often forget that Grande got her start on Broadway in the show 13. She also played Penny Pingleton in Hairspray Live!. While the role of Penny is not a major singing role, Grande was still able to prove she had the chops to do musical theater.
To quickly dismiss her prior to filming doesn’t even give her a chance to prove herself. On top of that, it’s not as if Grande hasn’t performed music from Wicked before. She was part of the Wicked 15th anniversary special where she performed “The Wizard and I.”
Even though the song is sung by Elphaba, it still shows she is able to perform songs in the style of Wicked.
Grande isn’t the only person some social media users were surprised about — despite her qualifications, Erivo wasn’t recognized immediately by everyone.
Erivo is a Grammy, Emmy and Tony winning singer and actress. She is not some rando that Universal plucked off the street to play Elphaba.
Erivo is also partly known for her role in The Color Purple on Broadway and has delivered emotional and heartfelt performances of many iconic musical songs such as “I’m Here” from The Color Purple and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl.
Other casting fears come from Marc E. Platt, one of the producers of the upcoming Wicked film and father of actor Ben Platt.
The recent film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen starred Ben Platt and faced major criticism for his casting as the titular role. Although Platt originated the role, many felt as if it was odd seeing him play a high schooler at the real life age of 27.
It was discovered that Platt’s father was one of the producers of the film, and people were quick to attribute his casting to nepotism.
After the mass criticism of the film post-release, people are wary of the same reviews coming out for Wicked. The film has been in development for almost 10 years, so it’s understandable that fans do not want to see it fail.
Other casting problems come from James Corden. Corden has not even been announced as a cast member but there is speculation of him possibly being in the film due to his prominence in musical movies.
A petition asking to keep Corden away from the film has gone viral, amassing over 72,000 signatures on the basis that people do not want him in the film.
The description of the petition states, “James Corden in no way shape or form should be in or near the production of Wicked the movie. that’s pretty much it.”
Clearly, the Wicked film is quite a contentious issue. People have a lot of impassioned emotions and only want to see the best final product possible. While the intention may be in the right place, people should give the film a chance instead of trying to find things to be upset about.