To follow one of the most derided Best Picture nominees of all time, Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) is going to Broadway. No, not a stage production that mercifully excludes you from hearing about his newest work, but a film version of the massively successful Wicked.
The show — which, to give proper credit, found root in Gregory Maguire‘s novel — is something of a Wizard of Oz origin story, wherein attendees are shown how the Wicked Witch of the West (or Elphaba) and her more favorable counterpart, The Good Witch of the North (that’s Glinda to you), came to be. There’s some romance, a few appearances from the Wizard, and even a young Kansas girl & three of her companions.
Descriptions might not be necessary. It’s one of the biggest hits in Broadway history, as a matter of fact, so it’s nigh impossible to have never heard of it — there’s even a chance you’ve seen it for yourself. Despite being best-known for low-scale and quiet dramas, Daldry is Universal’s favorite to helm this project which, about ten years ago, was ready to jump onto the silver screen before heading to New York. With Wicked now a proven commodity — along with the similar Mamma Mia! having been a smash success for the studio back in 2008 — the transition is being made.
I would express some kind of dissatisfaction, on account of my distaste for Daldry, but Wicked is not a property I have much interest in to begin with. While I’m honestly sure it’s good, The Wizard of Oz is just something I’ve always been a little hot-and-cold on; Sam Raimi is one of the express reasons I want to see Oz: The Great and Powerful, for instance. Nonetheless, I’m sure it’ll be fun to see Daldry try and get a gold statue out of it.
The same story also tells us that Jon Favreau is still negotiating to helm another Broadway-based movie, Jersey Boys. Sony and GK Films are expected to partner on the film, which John Logan (Hugo) has scripted; in it, Frankie Valli and his high-pitched comrades take the world by storm with their doo-wop-style tunes. Different territory for the action-oriented Favreau, but the collective shrug at Cowboys & Aliens — and Iron Man 2, for that matter — means this shift is probably for the best.
Is Daldry the right person for Wicked, and are you happy to see it come to theaters? Could Favreau successfully translate Jersey Boys?