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‘Wicked’ at 15: Dream Casting the Movie of the Broadway Hit

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


Hollywood, take note: here are our top 'Wicked' movie casting picks

With Wicked turning 15 on Oct. 30th, and the promise of a film adaptation of the musical sensation in the works, we thought it would be fun to imagine some of the casting possibilities of that promised movie. This is all purely wishful thinking, but here are some ideas we have about who in Hollywood might be right for some of the roles.

Dove Cameron, soon to star in a ‘Clueless’ musical adaptation, could tackle the role of Glinda, currently played on Broadway by Amanda Jane Cooper (Photos: Joan Marcus; Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images)

Dove Cameron, soon to star in a ‘Clueless’ musical adaptation, could tackle the role of Glinda, currently played on Broadway by Amanda Jane Cooper (Photos: Joan Marcus; Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images)

Elphaba: 

Lea Michele 
This name always comes up when the casting of the role of Elphaba is discussed for a film version of Wicked, and why not? Lea Michele has proven several times over, particularly in her role of Rachel on the TV show Glee, that she is more than capable of singing to the rafters. In fact, her rendition of “Defying Gravity” remains one of the show’s most-thrilling moments. Michele has Broadway pedigree as well, having played Young Cosette in Les Miserables, Tateh’s daughter in Ragtime, Shprintze in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof and Wendla in the original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening.


Anna Kendrick 
Another name that might be an ideal choice of the role of Elphaba is Anna Kendrick. Most people know her from the hit Pitch Perfect film franchise. Kendrick made her Broadway debut in 1998 at the age of 12 in the musical High Society, garnering a Tony nomination for her efforts. She appeared in the musical theater cult film Camp, playing an ambitious young actress who will stop at nothing to play a lead. She was a highlight of the 2014 film adaption of Into of the Woods, playing a thoughtful and luminescent Cinderella. Her starring role in the film version of The Last 5 Years revealed a vocal range and acting prowess that certainly makes her a legitimate contender to play our Wicked Witch.

Glinda:

Dove Cameron 
Who better to bring a bubbling personality to the character of Glinda than Emmy-winner Dove Cameron? A diverse talent who actually played twin sisters on the hit Disney sitcom Liv & Maddie, Cameron has proven that she can play everything from broad comedy to touching drama. Cameron is currently preparing to play Cher in the Off-Broadway musical version of the film Clueless. It’s easy to picture her trilling a perky “Popular,” and just as easy to imagine her grounded and heartfelt “For Good.”

Amanda Seyfried
From her role as the innocent Cosette in the film version of Les Miserables, to her dynamic turn as Sophie in the Mamma Mia! films, Amanda Seyfried has proven to be one of Hollywood’s “go-to” performers when making musicals. She made her film debut in the teen comedy Mean Girls, playing the bubbleheaded Karen Smith (one of the plastics) which fits in perfectly with Wicked’s character of Glinda. But Glinda has to evolve and mature throughout the show, and Seyfried is up to that task as well. Her performance on the TV series Big Love as Sarah Henrickson, a daughter of a Mormon polygamist, demonstrated an acting range that certainly supports trusting her with Glinda’s story.

Fiyero:

Ross Lynch
Though he is best remembered for playing pop star Austin Moon in the Disney Channel sitcom Austin & Ally – where he did all of his own singing – and for the Disney Teen Beach Movie franchise, Ross Lynch has matured into a performer with an edgier side that might just make him the perfect fit to play our film Fiyero. His turn as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the 2017 film My Friend Dahmer revealed an intensity that audiences hadn’t seen from him before. Now, Lynch is co-starring in the Netflix reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a campier, darker take on the comic book character. Lynch can play cocky, sensitive, brooding and charming, and he can sing and dance. All the ingredients we are looking for in a Fiyero.

Jordan Fisher
Fisher may be currently hosting Dancing with the Stars Junior, but he was also the show’s Mirror Ball Champion of its 25th Season. Who better to go “Dancing Through Life” with than someone who can glide across that Ozdust Ballroom? Fisher is also an actor, having enjoyed recurring roles on TV show such as The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Teen Wolf and Liv & Maddie. He was a highlight of Grease: Live, singing an unforgettable rendition of “Those Magic Changes.” Fisher made his Broadway debut in 2016 playing John Laurens/Philip Hamilton in the Broadway production of the blockbuster hit Hamilton.

Madame Morrible: 

Christine Baranski 
Madame Morrible isn’t exactly the nicest of characters, and this instructor at Shiz University takes an icy and domineering approach to imparting knowledge to her students. Who is great at playing this type of character? Christine Baranski, of course. Baranski is a two-time Tony winner (The Real Thing, Rumors), she’s appeared in a handful of stage musicals including Nick & Nora on Broadway, Sweeney Todd at the Kennedy Center for the Arts, and in concert version of A Little Night Music. Film musical roles include Tanya in the Mamma Mia! films, the Stepmother in Into the Woods and Mary Sunshine in Chicago. She also currently stars in the TV series The Good Fight, where she is giving one of television’s most potent performances today.


Viola Davis
With a regal bearing and an acting resume that supports her reading the phone book as viable entertainment, Viola Davis would have a field day conveying the complicated personality of Madame Morrible. Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the 2017 film version of the August Wilson play Fences, a role for which she won a Tony Award in 2010. She also has a Tony Award for her work in King Hedley II and a nomination for Seven Guitars. Her work on the TV series How to Get Away with Murder, for which she won an Emmy Award, gives a good indication of how she could bring an expert interpretation to the role of Madame Morrible. 
 

The Wizard: 

Neil Patrick Harris 
Neil Patrick Harris has been working in film, television and theatre since he was a child. He’s grown up before our eyes, and evolved into one of the stage and screen’s most-versatile actors. He can play the nice guy next door, and he can play a detached villain. How perfect would he be as the Wizard in Wicked, a character that requires a balance between warm, wonderful and sinister? Harris has appeared on Broadway in Assassins and Cabaret – not to mention the fact that he won a Tony Award for playing the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He currently plays Count Olaf in the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

James Corden 
James Corden may be known for his late night comedy, but he is also an accomplished actor. Corden won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in Play for One Man, Two Guvnors. He also appeared on Broadway in The History Boys. Can he sing? Why yes, he can, as he has proven, time and again, with his “Carpool Karaoke” segment on The Late Show, not to mention his star turn as the Baker in the film version of Into the Woods. And that’s before we even mention his “Crosswalk The Musical” series, which has seen him perform everything from Beauty and The Beast to CATS for unsuspecting drivers at traffic lights. Corden is equally adept at comedy and serious drama, a combination that is required to bring the character of the Wizard to life.

Let’s hear some of your ideas – tweet them @ShowTickets. How do you think Hollywood will cast a film version of Wicked?

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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