Composer Stephane Schwartz shared his thoughts on the decision to release the movie Wicked in two parts.
In the latest edition of The Schwartz Stagethe composer revealed, “The truth is, we tried for a while to make it one movie, even though it was going to be a very long movie. But we kept having two problems. The first is that even as a very long one-off film, it required us to cut or omit things that we wanted to include that we think fans of the show and the story will enjoy.”
The movie director, Jon M Chu, confirmed in April that the Wicked movie will be released in two parts, stating that cutting out beloved songs or characters “started to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years.”
The first Wicked movie will be released during the 2024 holiday season, and the second installment the following year.
Schwartz has also seemingly confirmed that the first Wicked movie will end after “Defying Gravity,” the musical’s first act.
“We found it very difficult to top ‘Defying Gravity’ uninterrupted. This song is written specifically to bring down a curtain, and whatever scene went uninterrupted felt extremely anti-climactic. So for those two reasons , plus the excitement of doing something that’s never been done before with a musical, we’ve decided to do two movies. Of course, when it’s all done, if it doesn’t work out that way, we’ll have to find something. But we firmly believe that’s what’s best for our story, our show and our fans.”
Schwartz assured fans that any edits to Wicked will be made to add something new to the story, rather than just to make a change. Schwartz had recently recorded the demo for a new song for the film, with backing vocals from Troy Iwata, Marissa Rosen and Wendi Bergamini.
“What we discussed is that the 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’m confident that by the time the movie gets 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 to the show and justify why I think it’s better for the movie.”
The film will be directed by Grammy and Emmy Award winner Tony Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and Grammy winner Ariana Grande like Glinda. their pair the cast has been announced via their Instagram accounts in November 2021.
Jon M Chu recently directed the acclaimed film adaptation of In the Heights. Chu’s other accomplishments include Crazy Rich Asians, Now You See Me 2 and Jem and the Holograms.
Aside from Wicked, Stephane Schwartz has written scores for several iconic musicals including Pippin, Godspell, Working, the Baker’s Wife, the Magic Show, and more. Schwartz also collaborates with Alain Menken on new music from Disenchanted, the highly anticipated sequel to Disney’s Enchanted. The film is due out in November on Disney+.
Photo credit: Jennifer Broski