LAS VEGAS – Pink just goes good with green.
A sneak peek at the two-part musical fantasy “Wicked” got a rousing ovation from the crowd Wednesday at CinemaCon. Those attending the convention of theater owners and studios were the first to get a look at stars Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, the massive musical numbers and a new version of Oz that will rock audiences next year.
The first part of the “Wicked” duology – a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” and adaptation of the Broadway show, now filming in the United Kingdom – hits theaters Thanksgiving 2024, and the concluding chapter arrives Christmas 2025.
“It’s a ride,” director Jon M. Chu said during the “Wicked” preview, which showed clips, behind-the-scenes material and other footage all set to Grande and Erivo belting out the showstopping tune “Defying Gravity.” Earlier this month, the filmmaker shared first pictures of the duo from the movie on his Instagram.
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During the CinemaCon presentation, Universal chairwoman Donna Langley called them “powerhouse performers” and said “they were born to play these roles,” and added that Chu “not only feels the emotional story in his bones but is creating a cinematic spectacle.”
Erivo stars as the green-skinned Elphaba, who will become the Wicked Witch of the West but in “Wicked” is a shy new student at the magic school Shiz University. It’s there she meets and ultimately befriends blond, popular and pink-bedecked Glinda (Grande), who grows up to be the Good Witch of the South.
The footage also showcased Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz and Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, a teacher who sees something special in her newest pupil. “Once you learn to harness your emotions, the sky’s the limit,” she tells Elphaba.
The first look showed how the movie is being created on a massive scale – 9 million real tulips were used during production – and also Grande and Erivo’s great chemistry. “Pink goes good with green,” Glinda tells Elphaba in one scene, putting a flower on her ear after proclaiming her “my project.”
But there are also some pretty heady themes at play in “Wicked,” Chu teased. The movie “is about change, and it’s necessary to get better.”
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