Rarely these days does a form of entertainment that is as popular as the Wicked musical franchise take long before it gets made into a film. In today's Variety it's revealed that Wanted producer Mark Platt has just signed a new five year deal with Universal, with the top three newly signed projects on his agenda being big screen adaptations of Wicked, Jesus Christ Superstar and a sequel to Wanted.Wicked is a re-imagining of sorts of Frank Baum's classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz but is actually told from the witches point of view. It has broken records worldwide since it's Broadway debut in 2003, taking in over $2 billion and spanning eight productions with weekly-gross-taking records in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and London.
Wicked tells the story of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West and her relationship with Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Their friendship struggles through their opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, their reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace. The plot is set mostly before Dorothy's arrival from Kansas, and includes several references to well-known scenes and dialogue in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.Universal are eager to put it in production as their adaptation of Mamma Mia opens in the U.S. this Friday (it's currently stinking up the U.K. multiplexes) but this one seems to have a much better chance of making a fortune on screen. No deal is actually set yet to bring the musical to the big screen, but Universal, Platt and David Stone (the latter two produced the play together) are in heavy talks. Winnie Holzman, the author of the novel will translate for screen. Other projects that Platt has newly put in the works are... WANTED 2 - which is moving very fast, and should see director Timur Berkmambetov return along with writers Derek Haas & Michael Brandt. The challenge is they haven't set out a final story they wish to develop, despite the plan of a trilogy being in place from the beginning. It's expected all the big name cast from the original who survived the film will return. JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera which is currently out to film-makers.