Ariana Grande Had to 'Completely Erase Pop Star Ari' For WICKED: How She 'Deconstructed' Herself to Play Glinda

Wicked will be released in theaters on November 27, 2024.

By: Feb. 27, 2024
Ariana Grande Had to 'Completely Erase Pop Star Ari' For WICKED: How She 'Deconstructed' Herself to Play Glinda
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Ariana Grande is giving a first look into how she became Glinda for the Wicked movie musical.

In her first full-length interview since wrapping up filming, Grande shared how she prepared to audition for Wicked and what she learned about herself as a performer throughout filming.

Grande took acting and vocal lessons with Nancy Banks and Eric Vetro every day for six months leading up to the audition. Throughout the process, she reveals she had to start "ripping everything open and kind of redesigning everything from the ground up."

"I have never wanted something as badly as I did this," she says. "I worked every day with [my vocal coaches] to transform my voice. My singing voice, eveything about me I had to kind of deconstruct to prove to them that I could handle taking on this other person. I kind of had to completely erase pop star Ari."

After "hunting Marc Platt down" since she was 20, Grande labels the moment she found out she landed the role as "the best day of her life." In the interview, Zach Sang, a close friend of Grande's, says that the audition process "took over her life" and was like she was "training for the Super Bowl."

"I really, really worked hard for it and my god, I am so grateful for it because it is the best, most transformative experience and special experience of my life."

Grande also gives a look inside how acting again has renewed her as an artist, especially leading up to her new album, "Eternal Sunshine," which is set to be released next week.

"I am a person who started on Broadway and I've always been a musical theatre person and I've always been an actress. I've missed acting," she detailed. "I think having so much time with a character, instead of this characterized version of myself, it was really nice."

Ariana Grande Had to 'Completely Erase Pop Star Ari' For WICKED: How She 'Deconstructed' Herself to Play Glinda
Ariana Grande as Glinda in the Wicked movie

Grande officially was announced to have landed the role over a year before Wicked began filming, giving her plenty of time to prepare for cameras to go up. However, she announced to her fans that she had completely stepped away from making pop music in the process.

"I changed and healed a lot through taking space from [music]. I think I learned so much from Glinda and through Glinda. I kind of healed a lot of parts of myself alongside and through her and it actually helped me heal a lot of my own personal, weird stuff I had with my relationship to music."

A self-proclaimed Wicked superfan, Grande says she has seen the musical on stage about a dozen times. After growing up loving the character, she has a new perspective on the role after filming the movie.

"The funniest thing is the reason why I thought I loved Glinda since I was 10-years-old is so not what makes us so adjacent to each other. The high notes and the comedy and the pink and the laughs and the clown is like what I was attracted to when I was 10 but it's so interesting that there is a lot more to it underneath the surface."

While Grande has wrapped filming for the movie, she is currently getting back to Glinda to do a marketing shoot and "a couple other surprises" that they are working on.

The Wicked film adaptation stars Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and Ariana Grande as Glinda. Joining them is Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Ethan Slater as Boq, Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard.

After two decades as one of the most beloved and enduring musicals on the stage, Wicked makes its long-awaited journey to the big screen as a spectacular, generation-defining cinematic event this holiday season. 

Wicked: Part One premieres the same day as Disney's recently announced Moana 2. The second part of the film, which is set to include two new songs, is second scheduled for a November 26, 2025 release.

Part one of Grande's interview on The Zach Sang Show on the Amazon Music channel on Twitch is available to watch now. Watch here: