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Stephen Schwartz Discusses Changes to WICKED For Upcoming Film

Stephen Schwartz Discusses Changes to WICKED For Upcoming Film

Production on the Wicked films is set to begin this summer.

 

Composer Stephen Schwartz has shared his thoughts on the decision to release the Wicked film in two parts.

In the latest edition of The Schwartz Scene, the composer revealed: "The truth is we tried for some time to make it one movie, even if it had to be one very long movie. But we kept running into two problems. The first is that even as a very long single movie, it required us cutting or omitting things that we wanted to include and that we think fans of the show and the story will appreciate."

The film's director, Jon M. Chu, confirmed in April that the Wicked film will be released in two parts, stating that cutting beloved songs or characters "began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years."

The first Wicked film will be released in the 2024 holiday season with the second installation coming in the following year.

Schwartz also seemingly confirmed that the first Wicked film will end after "Defying Gravity," the stage musical's act one finale.

"We found it very difficult to get past 'Defying Gravity' without a break. That song is written specifically to bring a curtain down, and whatever scene to follow it without a break just seemed hugely anti-climactic. So, for these two reasons, plus the excitement of doing something that's never been done before with a musical, we have decided to do two movies. Of course, when it's all done, if it doesn't work that way, we'll have to figure something out. But we strongly believe that this is what's best for our story, our show, and our fans."

Schwartz assured fans that any changes made to Wicked will be done so to add something new to the story, rather than just for the sake of making a change. Schwartz had recently recorded the demo for a new song for the film, featuring backing vocals from Troy Iwata, Marissa Rosen, and Wendi Bergamini.

"What we have discussed is that changes need to be 'additive,' to use Marc Platt's term. They need to add something to the story or the characters. They can't just be changes to do something different. I feel confident that by the time the movie is made, if we all continue to have the same degree of input, I could have a conversation with anyone who has a question about any of the changes made from the stage show and justify why I think it's better for the movie."

The film will be led by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and Grammy Winner Ariana Grande as Glinda. Their pair's casting was announced through their Instagram accounts in November 2021.

Jon M. Chu recently directed the acclaimed film adaption of In the Heights. Chu's other directorial credits include Crazy Rich Asians, Now You See Me 2, and Jem and the Holograms.

Aside from Wicked, Stephen Schwartz has written scores for several iconic musicals, including Pippin, Godspell, Working, the Baker's Wife, the Magic Show, and more. Schwartz is also collaborating with Alan Menken on new music for Disenchanted, the highly-anticipated sequel to Disney's Enchanted. The film is scheduled to be released in November on Disney+.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski

 



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