The movie adaptation of Wicked looks like it’s picking up steam and some of Hollywood’s big-time directors are reportedly vying to become the film’s storytelling wizard. Producer Marc Platt, composer Stephen Schwart and bookwriter Winnie Holzman have meet with prospective directors who have thrown their metaphorical hats in the ring.
Deadline.com reports that Rob Marshall (Chicago), Ryan Murphy (Glee), JJ Abrams (Star Trek) and James Mangold (Walk the Line) have expressed interest in helming the project. Out of the four, Rob Marshall seems the obvious choice, but I’m rooting for J.J. Abrams to score the gig.
Wicked is the untold story of the witches of the land of Oz before Dorothy and Toto dropped in. The show tells the “true” story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch at magic school. The two form an unlikely friendship and change the landscape of Oz forever. The musical has won 26 major awards consisting of Grammys and Tony Awards. It premiered on Broadway on October 30, 2003 and has continued to play sold out shows at the Gershwin Theater ever since. Brian and I were fortunate enough to watch the West End production of the musical during our trip to London a couple years back. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth originated the roles and provided spectacular vocals to the musical numbers.
Despite doing a stellar job with the Johnny Cash bio-pic Walk The Line, I think Mangold is the least likely to score the job among the four candidates. Since directing the Oscar winning flick, his last few flicks haven’t fared so well at the box office including 3:10 to Yuma and Knight & Day.
He scored a huge smash with Chicago, but was also responsible for one of 2009′s biggest bombs, Nine. As mentioned before, he seems the obvious choice, but I think the Wicked movie adaptation requires someone who has a fresh take on musicals. Currently he’s busy filming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
If J.J. Abrams doesn’t take the job, Ryan Murphy is my next choice for taking the director job. Though he’s known mostly for his television work in Nip/Tuck, Popular, and Glee, he’s also dabbled in movies as well. In a few weeks, Eat, Pray, Love, a movie he directed and starring Julia Roberts will be released in theaters. But with Glee already doing a Defying Gravity number, will Ryan’s version for the movie be deja vu.
Over the years, J.J. Abrams has proven he has a knack for storytelling especially when it’s female centric. Just think of two of the classics Felicity and Alias. He’s also proven he can take a tired old series and make it fresh and new again for a younger generation. See Star Trek as exhibit A. Heck, he even made another installment of Mission: Impossible entertaining. The third flick was by far the best of the three films released.