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Stephen Schwartz Details Why Wicked Movie Needs to Be Two Parts

The films are set to star Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande.

Stephen Schwartz
(© David Gordon)

In a new conversation with the quarterly newsletter The Schwartz Scene, Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz has detailed the need to turn the two-and-a-half hour stage musical into a two-part film, instead of one.

The Wicked movie is to be directed by Jon M. Chu, and will star Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo as Glinda and Elphaba. Winnie Holzman, who wrote the book for the musical, is penning the screenplay, with Schwartz adapting his score (and providing new material) for the big screen.

"We tried for some time to make it one movie, even if it had to be one very long movie," Schwartz told the publication. But they kept running into issues: "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. Secondly, 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."

Read more from Schwartz here.


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