The Dropout star Amanda Seyfried sat down with Backstage on Tuesday to reflect on her strenuous audition process for Universal’s upcoming adaptation of Broadway musical Wicked.
While in the middle of filming Hulu’s The Dropout, a drama documenting the rise and fall of former Theranos CEO and entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, Seyfried spent her weekends auditioning for a much different role: Glinda the Good Witch.
“I have dreams that I’m still auditioning for Wicked,” Seyfried said, recalling the intense process. “Last summer while I was playing Elizabeth [Holmes], on the weekends I was auditioning to play Glinda in the movie version of Wicked—because I wanted it that much that I was like, ‘You know what? Yeah, I have to play the last scene of The Dropout on Tuesday. I’ll give my Sunday to you.”
Though Seyfried was determined to squeeze Wicked into her busy schedule, the role of Glinda ultimately went to pop star Ariana Grande; the singer will star alongside Cynthia Ervio’s Elphaba. But Seyfried (who previously showcased her singing skills in Mamma Mia and Les Misérables) isn’t discouraged from future musical roles:
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“I literally bent over backwards while playing the hardest role of my life,” she continued. “But I think it also taught me how far I’ve come as a singer, which I really wanted to prove. Because ever since Les Mis, I was like I need to be better. I need to do better. So whatever comes next in terms of musicals, I’m finally prepared.”
Wicked Adaptation will be in Two Parts: It’s ‘What’s Best for Our Story, Our Show, and Our Fans’
Originally a hit Broadway musical starring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, Wicked follows The Wicked Witch of the West (whose real name is Elphaba) and Glinda the Good Witch in the years before the events of The Wizard of Oz.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, the film adaptation of Wicked will be split into two films to expand on the stage show in a number of ways.
“The truth is we tried for some time to make it one movie, even if it had to be one very long movie,” said Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics for Wicked’s stage show. “But we kept running into two problems. The first is that even as a very long single movie, it required us cutting or omitting things that we wanted to include and that we think fans of the show and the story will appreciate.”
“Secondly, we found it very difficult to get past ‘Defying Gravity’ without a break. That song is written specifically to bring a curtain down, and whatever scene to follow it without a break just seemed hugely anti-climactic,” Schwartz said of Elphaba’s emotional number that signals the finale of the first act. “So, for these two reasons, plus the excitement of doing something that’s never been done before with a musical, we have decided to do two movies…we strongly believe that this is what’s best for our story, our show, and our fans.”
Wicked Part 1 is set to premiere sometime in December 2024, with Part 2 expected in December 2025.