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Director Jon M Chu gives update on Wicked movie: 'The spectacle? That's the easy part'

The In the Heights director is already looking forward to his next major musical project

Wicked's curtain call in 2014
© Dan Wooller

He's currently completely wrapped up in the major press tour for In the Heights, but that didn't stop director Jon M Chu spilling some details about the upcoming screen version of Wicked.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, the multi-award-winning show is based on Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and is adapted for the stage by Winnie Holzman. Musical staging is by Wayne Cilento and direction by Joe Mantello.

Now in its 15th year in the West End, Wicked has won over 100 major awards, including ten WhatsOnStage Awards (three times claiming the "Best West End Show" prize), two Olivier Awards and three Tony Awards.

Chu recently sat down with The List and gave a fresh update on the eagerly anticipated big-screen version of the show, saying: "We're in the beginning stages of Wicked. However, I think the philosophy of what musicals mean to me personally now that I have actually made a movie musical... you know, there's theory about what movie musicals mean to me as being a watcher of movie musicals.

"Now that I've gone through it, what really has hit me is the power of music and why musicals exist in the first place when words aren't sufficient. Nowadays, words really aren't sufficient for what we're going through. So for me, it's finding the truth of each song and working our way inside out of why that exists."

He added: "Yes, of course, we're going to have Oz, and you're going to be in this crazy world, and you're going to revisit this innocent place and you're going to see that it's not as innocent as it had been in the past."

But Chu wants to place greater emphasis on the relationship between the two central characters – Glinda and Elphaba. "you're also going to see that the relationship between these two women is more real than ever, that we're going to be that close to them. We're going to root for them to try and get into school at one point. You're going to want them to make up at another point, and you're going to feel when they separate.

"That's the most important thing. The spectacle? That's the easy part, we can hire a lot of people to do that. It's those little moments... that's what's going to make that."

Further plans for the film are to be revealed.

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