Jon M Chu to Direct ‘Wicked’ Adaptation at Universal

Musical based on “The Wizard of Oz” does not have a release date

Last Updated: February 2, 2021 @ 10:37 AM

“Crazy Rich Asians” and “In The Heights” director Jon M. Chu will helm Universal’s adaptation of the Broadway hit musical “Wicked,” an individual with knowledge told TheWrap. Chu replaces director Stephen Daldry, who stepped away from the project last fall.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Chu wrote: “When I saw Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s WICKED over 15 years ago as it was being workshopped in San Francisco. I couldn’t unsee it. So to think that I have been invited to bring this timeless story to biggest screens all around the world for people to experience with their family, best friends and total strangers…of all walks of life, ages, shapes and colors is like I’ve been invited to Oz by the Wizard himself.”

Universal had previously removed “Wicked” from its release calendar because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was originally slated for release on Dec. 22, 2021.

No cast has been set for the film as of yet. Marc Platt is producing, while original Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz and musical book writer Winnie Holzman wrote the screenplay. “Wicked” is produced on Broadway by Universal Stage Productions, Platt, the Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

“Wicked,” based on Gregory Maguire’s unauthorized 1995 prequel novel to “The Wizard of Oz,” charts the unlikely friendship between Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba, who would become the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical first debuted in San Francisco and Broadway in 2003 and has since become one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, surpassing over $1 billion in total Broadway revenue.

The show was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including for stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, and is known for iconic anthems like “Defying Gravity.”

Senior Executive Vice President of Production Erik Baiers and Director of Development Lexi Barta are overseeing the project on behalf of Universal.

Warner Bros. will release Chu’s next movie, “In The Heights,” on June 18 in theaters and on HBO Max.

Jon M. Chu is represented by UTA, Artists First Inc and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP.

Deadline first reported the news.