EXCLUSIVE: After Jon M. Chu Lin adapted Manuel-Miranda’s In The Heights for Warner Bros., he plans to adapt one of Broadway’s greatest hits. Sources say that . Chu will direct Universal Pictures’ Wicked, the feature film adaptation of the record breaking musical phenomenon that hits Broadway in its seventeenth year.
The three-time Tony Award-winning stage musical was adapted from Gregory Maguire’s bestselling novel by the author Winnie Holzman and the composer / lyricist Stephen Schwartz, who also worked on the script adaptation. Marc Platt will produce for his universal-based Marc Platt Productions. Wicked is produced on Broadway by Universal Stage Productions, Platt, the Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.
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Timing is everything and in this situation it worked out fine for both sides. Last fall, Stephen Daldry, director of Billy Elliot, left the project after the studio tried to quickly push the long-awaited adaptation. Around the same time, Chu had to part with Disney + the new Willow series, which he wanted to stage due to problems with COVID-19 that pushed production further. In addition, Chu was expecting a new baby and decided to split up. With Chu’s schedule open and Wicked looking for a director, the time had come for both parties when Chu should take over the direction.
With a national tour and several international productions, the stage musical has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide, making it one of the most successful theater projects of all time. Wicked has received over 100 international awards, including a Grammy Award and three Tony Awards. It has been performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries around the world (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand) (Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland and China) and has so far been in Six languages translated: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Korean and Portuguese.
Erik Baiers, Senior Executive Vice President of Production and Lexi Barta, Director of Development, will oversee the project on behalf of Universal.
In addition to the adaptation of In The Heights, which will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max later that year, Chu played a major role in the adaptation of the box office hit Crazy Rich Asians for Warner Bros. Chu is by UTA, Artists First Inc and Goodman represented. Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP.