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‘Wicked’ movie cast: Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo and hopefully not James Corden

If you had told me 10 years ago that Ariana Grande would be cast as Glinda in the movie adaptation of “Wicked,” I would have said, “The movie is still only in pre-production?” This prequel musical to “The Wizard of Oz” premiered on Broadway in 2003. Eighteen years later, this smashing success is still playing eight shows a week. Many people have been attached to the making of this movie, and most of these attempts have fallen through. Release dates have been announced, and those dates have passed with nothing being made, but this may soon change. This past February, Jon M. Chu, director of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights” was announced as being attached to this project. On Nov. 4, the casting for the main characters, Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba the Wicked Witch, were officially announced. Grammy Award winner Ariana Grande was announced as Glinda, and Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo was announced as Elphaba. Based on this casting, an exciting movie is certainly coming our way.

Ariana Grande is known today for being a contemporary pop music princess, with six songs reaching number one on the charts. This may lead some people to believe that she is not suited for a big movie part like Glinda the Good Witch. However, Grande actually got her start in theater. At 15 years old, Grande was in the musical “13” on Broadway (which incidentally also has a film adaptation in production). After this, Grande starred in the hit musical Nickelodeon show “Victorious” for three years. After this, along with singing big hits, Grande appeared in “Hairspray Live” as Penny, showing off her musical theatre talents on television. While it has been many years since Grande has acted, she is certainly prepared for the role of the Good Witch. I have been watching Grande since her days on Nickelodeon, and I believe she is going to do a wonderful job. She is a talented and expressive actress with a powerful singing voice, and these are the necessary traits for Glinda. It is safe to say she is up for the challenge.

Over the last decade, Cynthia Erivo has made a name for herself in the acting world. She got her big break in the 2015 Broadway revival of “The Color Purple,” where she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She also starred in the movie “Harriet,” based on the life of Harriet Tubman, which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, as well as a nomination for Best Song for the song “Stand Up” that appeared on the soundtrack. She also received positive reviews as Aretha Franklin in the third season of “Genius,” an anthology series about great geniuses in modern history. Erivo has demonstrated in the past few years her amazing acting talent and beautiful singing voice. Starring in the highly anticipated “Wicked” may be Erivo’s biggest role yet, and she has definitely earned it. I am excited for her performance in this film because I know she will be excellent.

So far, only the casting for the two leads of this movie have been announced and many people have given various opinions on who they want to be cast. There seems to be a consensus that James Corden should stay far from this movie. Corden originally started his acting career in the United Kingdom, but soon moved his acting fame across the pond. Most of his recent acting has been in movie musicals, with audiences less than impressed with his performances. He starred in “Into The Woods” where reviews on his performance were not particularly harsh but also not very great. He was also in “Cats” which received many terrible reviews, with Corden’s performance pointed out as unenjoyable and too much. Then there was “The Prom.” While the film itself got average reviews, many people cited Corden’s performance as the worst part. Corden, a straight man, played a flamboyant gay man, and his performance was seen as a harmful caricature. Because of this history of unlikable performances in movie musicals, musical lovers do not want him to tarnish “Wicked.” A petition on Change.org was recently made to keep James Corden out of the movie, and over 90 thousand people have signed it. I personally have found that when I see Corden in a movie, he makes the film too silly and I cannot see the characters he plays, only him. I hope he is not part of this production.

“Wicked” is currently the fifth longest running musical on Broadway, and has gone on many national and international tours. It has grabbed the attention and adoration of millions of people around the world. Naturally, a lot of hype has built up around this film. The announcement of casting for its starring roles shows that this musical will soon reach wider audiences. A release date has not been announced yet but with actors and filming dates being announced, it seems that there is significant progress being made. Grande and Erivo are both gifted artists that are spectacular choices for bringing this show to the big screen. I’m excited to see who else will be in this movie, as long as it is not the weird James Corden, so he can stop taking over movie musicals. Other than that hypothetical, I think that there is a lot of potential for this film, and I hope we find out more about this wild and fun movie soon.

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