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Jon M. Chu to direct big-screen adaptation of 'Wicked'

The director of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights,” is taking on the land of Oz.
2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards  - General Atmosphere
Director Jon M. Chu attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif.Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

Jon M. Chu, the director of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights,” is taking on the land of Oz. He has inherited filmmaking duties from Stephen Daldry on “Wicked,” Universal’s big-screen adaptation of the hit musical.

Daldry departed the project, which has been in the works for over a decade, last October due to scheduling conflicts. It’s still unclear who will star in the film, or when it will be released. “Wicked” was taken off Universal’s film schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Universal Pictures is a unit of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.

A prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked” tells the story of everything that happened before Dorothy dropped down in Oz. In its original run on Broadway, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth portrayed best friends-turned-mortal enemies — Elphaba (the eventual Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch). Prior to prolonged theater closures, “Wicked” had been one of the longest-running shows on the Great White Way.

Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway show, is adapting the screenplay with Winnie Holzman. Marc Platt, a producer on the musical, is also producing the film. Along with classics like “Defying Gravity” and “Popular,” the movie version is expected to feature at least two new songs.

Chu feels like a natural fit, having recently directed “In the Heights,” the feature film adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. That movie, from Warner Bros., is slated to premiere in theaters and on HBO Max in June. Chu also successfully adapted the hit romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Chu is represented by UTA, Artists First Inc and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP.

Deadline first reported the news.

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