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Wicked’s Cynthia Erivo Talks Chemistry With Ariana Grande, Teases ‘New Spin’ On The Beloved Musical

Cynthia Erivo in Widows
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

2021 was a great year for movie musicals, as projects like West Side Story, Dear Evan Hansen, and Tick, Tick…BOOM! were all released to the masses. The tried and true genre will continue with some highly anticipated movies, including the upcoming Wicked movie directed by Jon M. Chu. Cynthia Erivo will play Elphaba, and recently spoke to her chemistry with Ariana Grande, while also teasing a new spin on the beloved musical.

Cynthia Erivo is a star of stage and screen who won a Tony Award for her performance in The Color Purple. Broadway fans were thrilled to see she’d be playing the green girl in Wicked, where she’ll play opposite Ariana Grande’s co-lead role G(a)linda. Erivo recently spoke to the start of her collaboration with the iconic pop star, saying:

I can tell you that Ariana is wonderful. The two of us are really starting to find our feet and find our relationship and really enjoy one another's time and space and conversations. She's the sweetest person.

I’m not crying, you’re crying. The friendship between Glinda and Wicked is the main plotline of Wicked, so it’s awesome that the two talented stars are already hitting it off prior to production. And they’ve both got their roots in theaters; Grande starred in the Broadway production of 13 prior to her transition into television.

Cynthia Erivo’s comments to ET come from her recent appearance on the red carpet of SAG Awards. Eventually the conversation turned to Wicked, which has the potential to give her the opportunity to finish her EGOT with an Academy Award. Erivo revealed that rehearsals are expected to begin in July, before filming actually starts. 

Aside from the talented pair of leading actors, audiences are psyched about Wicked thanks to the director behind the camera. Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon M. Chu proved he could nail a movie musical with In the Heights, and he’s jumping right back into the genre. Cynthia Erivo mentioned Chu when addressing how the movie will have some surprises for fans, saying:

Jon Chu is excited, very, very excited. He's working very hard. I think it's going to be unlike anything you've ever seen before. I think we're going to enjoy the magic of it. We're going to try and put our own spin on what we know already and show you a story about two women [who] are sisters.

One of the many daunting jobs Jon M. Chu has ahead of himself for Wicked is assembling the rest of the ensemble cast. And given just how beloved the characters and Stephen Schwartz’s songs are, all eyes will be looking at the performers attached. For his part, Chu is reportedly seeking actual wheelchair users for the role of Elphaba’s sister Nessarose.

The Wicked movie doesn’t currently have a release date, but hopefully that’ll come once cameras start rolling. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. 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 famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.