Yesterday it was announced that director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) had landed the task of bringing Wicked to life on the silver screen.
Naturally, as with all things on the internet, there was an outburst of shock, happiness (in some cases, indignation) and curiosity. What will the musical Wizard of Oz prequel look like on the silver screen? We can only imagine what the masterful Daldry will bring to the table, but who can put faces to the actors and actresses that will take the roles immortalized by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth? We have a few ideas…
Warning: There are a few minor spoilers for Wicked in this post
Before you immediately jump down into the comments section to bash us for not including Idina Menzel on this list (that’s right, she’s not here – wait, don’t click away! COME BACK HERE AND HEAR US OUT), there are several things that we must consider when casting a feature film as opposed to a Broadway musical.
None of us here at Hypable want to throw around the word “old” too carelessly (words hurt), but the part of a witch in her first year at magic school is a role that has an age limit. It’s not for lack of talent – it’s purely because age is something that can easily be manipulated on stage and not so easily manipulated on film.
Regardless of how hard Menzel would kick the role out of the park, all that a camera would do is amplify every age mark on the 41-year-old actress and distract the audience from what the character should be: a strange, confident yet unsure young woman who happens to be green.
With that said, let’s move on to our first suggestion, starting with the most obvious.
Our Pick: Lea Michele
If we go by the old Hollywood adage of “looking the part,” Michele is already several Hollywood points above her fellow actresses. Add that to an overwhelming amount of reasons to cast her (she can sing, she can dance, she already has experience singing half of the songs from Wicked for Glee) and she might already have the role in the bag.
Also, being the lead in a TV show that attracted the biggest audience in America for a few years doesn’t hurt either. Producers know the kind of draw that Michele would bring, and frankly, we’re interested to see if she has the pipes to belt out those radical pre-intermission tones.
There’s no denying that she’s a Broadway baby, and at this point her experience can only mean good things for her. Also, she looks like Idina Menzel’s daughter. Remember this? Yeah, that totally happened.
Eden Espinosa – She understudied for Idina Menzel in the original Broadway production and has been touring ever since. She has probably played the role more than anyone else on the planet, and those that have seen her still shout her praises. She’s only as big of a name as Lea Michele in certain (awesome) circles, so producers sadly probably couldn’t count on her to attract a crowd
Shoshana Bean – She’s the same age as Eden Espinosa, has the same fierce talent, and will probably be vying for the role just as hard as any of the other post-Menzel Elphabas out there. Her sharp and understated acting technique would translate well to film and she has already proven that she is a voice to be reckoned with. We at least need an Elphaba that has proven she can walk the walk and belt the belt.
Idina Menzel – Fine, we’ll add Idina Menzel just because we want (read: need) to see her in the role again. It doesn’t look too probable, but hey, a website can dream.
*Bonus Hollywood actor with unproven vocal talent: Olivia Wilde.
This gorgeous actress is no stranger to flying stunts (Cowboys and Aliens anyone?), but has anyone actually heard her sing? We can already see her waving her arms and chanting eleka nahmen nahmen ah tum ah tum eleka nahmen to try and save Fiyero’s life with the same intensity that we’ve seen on House, but unless Wilde has hitherto unknown vocal talents, the songs would have to undergo massive changes in order to make them “actor friendly.”