Who will lead the way for something wicked?

wicked popular Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers
Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers as Elphaba and Glinda in the original Singapore cast of Wicked. Image by Andrew Ritchie

A question – what do the following people have in common: The creator of Glee, the director of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the creator of Alias and the director of Kate and Leopold? These four men are said to be the frontrunners to bring the musical WICKED to cinemas.

The rights to movie musical belong to Universal Pictures, who released Mamma Mia – which currently holds the record for the highest grossing worldwide musical – so producers are hoping for similar success with the story of how a little green girl became the Wicked Witch of the West.

So here are the potential directors for the feature film:

J.J. Abrams
The Alias, Felicity and Fringe creator has directed only three features film (Mission Impossible III, Star Trek and most recently Super 8) but this director, writer and producer has shown through his television shows Lost and Fringe that he has the skills to develop a well-paced and suspense driven drama. While he hasn’t ventured into musicals yet (Although Lost: The Musical does have appeal), Abrams success rate in film and television would prove to be a safe and successful bet. Don’t be surprised if he writes and/or produces the film as well.

Ryan Murphy
The creator of popular television shows Glee, Nip/Tuck, and most recently American Horror Story, has made a lucrative franchise from a group of singing high school kids and their “diverse” group of teachers. He’s work on Glee extends to executive music producer, and if that wasn’t enough he already the show has already featured the songs ‘Defying Gravity’ and ‘For Good’, the show has also guest stared Kristen Chenoweth, who stared as Glinda in the Original Broadway Production. While he too hasn’t directed many features (Most recent being Eat. Pray. Love), his work on Glee should prove that he can direct and choreograph a scene.

James Mangold
While the director of such diverse films as Girl, Interrupted, Kate & Leopold and Knight and Day might seem an unlikely choice for a fantasy musical,  don’t forget Mangold also directed the Johnny Cash bio-picture Walk The Line. The film required stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon to train and perform all their songs. Whether he could convince one of them to paint their face and arms green is another story…

Rob Marshall
Out of the four candidates, Marshall has probably the most experience directing theatrical musicals. While he recent outing was Johnny Deep’s Pirates 4, he has also worked as director and choreographer on the Oscar winning Chicago, the Oscar Nominated Nine and Emmy Award Winning TV Movie Annie. Marshall has also worked several Broadway productions, as chorographer and/or director. throughout the nineties, so if nothing else he knows his way around a show. He has also recently been tipped to team with Disney on the film adaptation of Sondheim’s Into The Woods.

A truly mixed bag of directors and it seems like that if anywhere given the job, they could pull it off successfully. However, only the studio can decide. Hopefully they will make a decision soon, cast it, and more importantly, give a release date!

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