Cynthia Erivo is more than ready for Wicked fans to see what she and the rest of the cast have been cooking up.
The 36-year-old actress chatted with ET’s Deidre Behar at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., where she opened up about working alongside Ariana Grande, Jonathan Bailey, Michelle Yeoh and more in the upcoming movie musical, and shared how the cast is feeling ahead of the release of Part 1 in winter 2024.
Erivo plays Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, opposite Grande’s Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, in the Jon M. Chu-directed project, the legendary roles originated on Broadway by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. The Harriet star told ET that she hopes fans of the iconic musical will feel “moved” by the new rendition of the classic tale.
“I hope you’re excited by it… I hope it elevates you a little bit,” the actress said as a message to the fans.
Reflecting on what the cast could film before SAG-AFTRA went on strike — the strike has since ended — Erivo teased that fans would be particularly moved by the film’s rendition of the song “For Good.” The duet between Elphaba and Glinda, normally performed on stage near the end of the musical, serves as a farewell between the two and looks back on how both Elphaba and Glinda have been changed by their friendship with each other.
“I want to say ‘For Good’ is one of the most… like it’s really special to us,” Erivo told ET. “It just — it was a really special day. We filmed it over a week [and] we felt like it was a lot for the both of us, in our hearts, you know?”
“And I’m really, really excited for ‘The Wizard and I’ ’cause, like, it’s a full epic moment,” the actress added. “There’s so much in there that feels good… There are all really special moments within this movie and even the numbers without songs are really special as well.”
Erivo described the film as “enlightening, thrilling, and eye-opening,” adding that fans will “get to discover a lot of things that you don’t necessarily get to see on stage ’cause there’s not enough time to open the story.”
“We’re lucky ’cause we have time to open up the story, and you get to learn a lot more about [the characters],” she explained.
Looking back, Erivo gushed about her relationship with co-star Grande. The duo has shared several glimpses of their growing friendship since being cast as Elphaba and Glinda on social media and have grown even closer since beginning filming.
“I mean, she’s wonderful. It’s been really wonderful working together. We seem to have found this wonderfully easy rhythm together,” Erivo shared with ET. “She calls it worming when we sing together because our voices sound the same even though we’re totally different. When we are able to sing together, it really works. We just sort of find each other, so it’s been lovely to work with her. It’s like finding a family member you didn’t know you had.”
The actress added that Grande is just as excited as she is for fans to see their work. “She’s so excited for this. She’s so excited to go on this run with me. To celebrate together is gonna be really special.”
The same goes for the rest of the cast and crew, Erivo said, adding, “Johnny Bailey is really lovely and he’s been really sweet with us. Johnny Chu has been wonderful and has created this atmosphere of love and kindness from the top and down. Everyone from DOP to the lighting is really sweet. Everyone’s doing really great.”
Wicked: Part One is due out next November.