Watch Ariana Grande & Cynthia Erivo Tearfully React to ‘Wicked’ Castings

Just six months remain before the world is changed “For Good.”

In anticipation of part 1 of Jon M. Chu’s upcoming Wicked movie musical, Universal Pictures shared an emotional clip recounting the journey to Wicked from the perspectives of Chu and stars Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo.


“Whenever anyone asks me what’s the one movie you want to do,” mused Chu, who has previously helmed box-office smashes like 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, “If there was one, I’d always say it’d be Wicked.”

The fourth-longest-running Broadway show of all time, Wicked pulls inspiration from both the stage musical and the best-selling Gregory Maguire-penned novel of the same name. Grande, who recently topped the Billboard 200 with her Eternal Sunshine LP, is set to star as Glinda the Good Witch, with Erivo, a two-time Academy Award nominee, taking on the iconic role of Elphaba, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West.

“On my 25th birthday, I took myself to see the show,” Erivo reflected in the clip. “I’d never heard anything or seen anything like it. I remember it was a rainy night and I felt really alive. I felt like I was floating on air.”

No stranger to musicals, Erivo has previously lent her talents to The Color Purple, for which she received the 2016 Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical. She also starred in the 2015 Royal Festival Hall production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and the 2016 Town Hall production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years. This year, the Emmy, Tony and Grammy winner can be seen in the Lincoln Center production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Of course, with starring turns in 2019’s Harriet and 2022’s Disney’s Pinocchio, Erivo has also made an impact on the silver screen.

Though she’s best known for Billboard Hot 100-topping hits like “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for Your Love),” Grande’s acting credits date back to 2008, when she made her Broadway debut in 13, a musical also penned by Brown, with whom Grande later collaborated on “Jason’s Song (Gave It Away)” from 2016’s Dangerous Woman LP.

“I had the incredible privilege of seeing the original Broadway cast of Wicked when I was 10, and I just felt an immediate bond,” Grande says in the video, before it cuts to an old media clip, in which she expresses her desire to play Glinda should Wicked every make it to the big screen. “It’s always been the thing I listen to when I’m nervous, when I’m needing an escape, when I need comfort. I went in for my first audition and I remember buzzing!”

The rest of the clip features behind-the-scenes footage of the film and clips from the phone calls in which Chu officially broke the casting news to Grande and Erivo. Chu gushed that Grande’s audition featured “an Ari that [he’d] never seen before,” while Erivo was “so raw and vulnerable [that] he couldn’t get her out of [his] head.”

Both Grande and Ervio tearfully and graciously accepted their respective offers to join the films’ illustrious cast, with the “7 Rings” singer crying, “Oh my God, thank you! I love [Glinda] so much, I’m gonna take such good care of her!”

“It’s been a really long journey here, and I’m really grateful for it,” says Erivo. “I never thought in my lifetime that I would get to be a part of something like this.”

The rest of the principal Wicked cast will feature Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, Olivier winner Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Tony nominee Ethan Slater as Boq, Emmy nominee Bowen Yang as Pfannee and Emmy nominee Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz.

Wicked will be split into two separate movie musicals for the silver screen. The first film is slated to hit theaters on Thanksgiving (Nov. 27), with the second film following almost exactly a year later on Nov. 26, 2025. The film’s first trailer debuted during the 2024 Super Bowl, giving fans a taste of both the whimsical world of Oz and Erivo’s version of the iconic “Defying Gravity” closing riff popularized by Idina Menzel, who won the 2004 leading actress in a musical Tony for the original production of Wicked.

“I want people to see Wicked and experience it in a way they’ve never experienced before,” Chu proclaims at the end of the clip. “I want them to feel what I felt going into the theater for the first time. I want to make them laugh, to make them sing, to make them feel that after they’ve watched it, they’ve been changed for good.”

Watch Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo emotionally accept their Wicked castings below.

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