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Vanity Fair goes behind the scenes with director Jon M. Chu and his Wicked film adaptation


Vanity Fair has a first look at the cast of the film adaptation of director Jon M. Chu‘s forthcoming Wicked musical movie, starring Ariana Grande; Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh; Emmy, Tony and Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo; and more.

Chu explains he was a fan of the original Tony-winning staged musical, having caught it back when it was in previews in San Fransisco. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, wow. It feels like a movie already,"” he says.  

The filmmaker behind the hits Crazy Rich Asians and Now You See Me 2 said he didn’t want to rely on CG to bring the musical to life onscreen. “I was like, ‘I want to do it the way I dreamed about it as a kid when I watched Hook,"” the filmmaker says. 

“Behind the scenes, Steven Spielberg was on a dock with a giant pirate ship. I’m like, ‘If this is my one opportunity to do this, I want to do that,"” Chu enthuses.

To that end, there are realistic sets and full-sized props, like a train that travels to the Emerald City. 

For that matter, the urge to capture the magic in-camera extended to its talent, too. Chu says that while filming the movie, Ariana and Cynthia insisted on singing while on set, instead of miming to a prerecorded vocal.

“These are live vocals,” Chu says. “When we were shooting it, those girls were like, ‘F*** the pre-records. We’re going live."” He recalls not knowing if they could do it and asking, “There’s going to be a lot of wind in your air pipes. Is that okay?” And they said, “Yeah. That’s what we do.”

The first installment of Wicked hits theaters November 27. Part two arrives in 2025.

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