Wicked Director Jon M. Chu Shares Ariana Grande And Cynthia Erivo’s Emotional Reactions To Being Cast

Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo side by side
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox/ 20th Television)

2021 has been a good year for movie musicals, as a number of film adaptations have been released including Dear Evan Hansen, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and In the Heights. The latter project was helmed by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu, who is also the filmmaker behind the upcoming Wicked movie. And Chu recently shared Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo’s emotional reactions to being cast as Glinda and Elphaba respectively.

The first news of Wicked’s casting broke last night, with the internet quickly exploding as a result. After all, Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande are known for their outstanding voices and passion for musical theater. And it looks like landing those roles was an emotional experience for the pair of multihyphenates, as shared by Jon M. Chu:

Talk about twinning. Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande had basically the same reaction when Jon M. Chu shared the news that they were leading the cast of Wicked: putting their hands over their mouths/faces. Smart money says the upcoming film adaptation will leave them changed “For Good.”

The above images come to us from Jon M. Chu’s personal Instagram account. He clearly had his phone ready when officially welcoming the pair of icons into the cast as Wicked’s dual protagonists. The Broadway musical has a ton of fans, and both Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have famously performed songs from the show before. And I can only imagine how those two iconic voices will sound together in some of those beloved duets.

The internet was set ablaze when the Wicked casting was first announced, thanks to the level of talent that Jon M. Chu found for Elphaba and Glinda. This movie adaptation will be the first time Ariana Grande will lead a blockbuster movie, but she’s definitely got the voice to bring the role to life. As for Cynthia Erivo, she’s one Academy Award win from joining the EGOT club. Could playing Elphaba provide this opportunity? 

As previously mentioned, both Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have famously sang numbers from Wicked before. Grande tweeted that Glinda was a dream role back in 2011, and sang Elphaba’s first big song “The Wizard And I” at the Wicked 15th Anniversary Special. As for Erivo, she recently performed the Act II opener “Thank Goodness” at PBS’ Wicked in Concert. Funny enough, their film roles were swapped with both of these numbers.

Jon M. Chu’s work on both Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights show how well he works with movie spectacles-- the latter of which also happened to be a Broadway musical. That vision will be needed to bring Oz to life on the big screen, as the stage musical is definitely a Broadway Blockbuster complete with flying and over the top costumes.

It’s currently unclear when Wicked will hit theaters, but clearly the cast is finally coming together. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.