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It was announced last month that the movie adaption of popular musical Wicked was moved off of its original December 20, 2019, release date. “That was always a fake date. There wasn’t a prayer in hell,” says Stephen Schwartz, the man behind the stage musical.
Schwartz talked to THR Thursday evening at the Songs of Hope gala benefiting cancer research, where he was being honored with the Warner/Chappell Music “Icon of Hope” Award.
Though it’s delayed, Schwartz offers assurance that things are still progressing with the movie: “We’re making really good progress. The screenplay has gone through a few drafts. In fact, while I’m out here, I’m going to be seeing Winnie [Holzman], and we’re working on the most recent draft.”
Holzman wrote the book for the stage version of Wicked and is now working on the screenplay. “When we’re ready, we’ll go,” Schwartz says. “But we want to make sure we’re ready. It won’t be forever, but it also won’t be next year.”
Universal filled the date previously held by Wicked with another Broadway-to-big-screen adaptation: Cats. When the studio announced the change, Universal noted that the movie will be re-dated soon to accommodate production scheduling.
Says Schwartz, “I will tell you 100 percent there will be a movie of Wicked and it won’t be that far away, but it won’t be next year, because we’re still writing. Pre-production hasn’t even begun, but that could start in the not-too-distant future.”
Schwartz is also involved in another long-in-development movie musical: the sequel to Disney’s Enchanted. He worked with a fellow musical theater veteran, composer Alan Menken, on the 2007 feature that starred Amy Adams as an archetypal princess — complete with woodland creatures and break-out musical numbers — who finds herself in New York City.
“Alan and I play tennis together, and we were just talking about it last weekend as we were in the process of hitting balls across the net,” Schwartz says. He says the script for the sequel, titled Disenchanted, must be finished before he and Menken can get to work. “They’re not up to us yet. With Wicked, that’s a different story. We’re much deeper in.”
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