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When thinking of the big screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Wicked, Brett Ratner’s probably not at or near the top of anyone’s list, but it’s apparently a “dream project” for the Tower Heist director.
It’s only a matter of time before Wicked makes its way to the big screen, and given the popularity of the Broadway musical, it’s likely that people (a lot of girls, and maybe some men who watched this week’s episode of South Park) will flock in droves to the movie theaters to see Elphaba and G(a)linda meet at college and form an unlikely friendship. Last year, the buzz on who might direct the film ranged from Glee’s Ryan Murphy, to James Mangold, Rob Marshall, and even JJ Abrams. Brett Ratner’s name wasn’t included as one of the people interested in the project, at the time.
Ratner’s directorial work includes the Rush Hour films, X-Men: Last Stand, and the soon-to-be-released comedy caper Tower Heist. The New York Times ran an article on the director, discussing some of his work, and mentioning his plans to direct The 39 Clues. The article states that Ratner’s also busy "conjuring up future endeavors," among which is his “dream project,” a film adaptation of Wicked.
“People who played it safe, they weren’t really going anywhere. They did the same thing over and over again. I’ve always challenged myself, and whether I failed or not, I didn’t fail in my mind. I went through the experience, and it prepared me for the next time I’m going to do it.”
Branching out is a good thing, but it’s hard to find a strong argument for Ratner being the man for the job based on his previous films. It’s probably an understatement to say that hopes and expectations for the project will be high. People will be hoping for the film to capture the magic brought to the stage by Stephen Schwartz (music/lyrics), Winnie Holzman (book), Kristin Chenoweth (Galinda), Idina Menzel (Elphaba), and Joel Grey (The Wizard). Needless to say, the bar has been set high for this one.
Ratner describes himself as an “instinct guy.” Maybe his instincts tell him he’s the person who can do this film, but he might do well to tackle a smaller project and work his way up to something like this. Wicked is as much a story of personal growth, choices, friendship and love as it is a great musical. I might be more comfortable with the idea of Ratner directing Wicked if I’d seen at least one other film of his that touches on those elements at the same depth.