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"Wicked" Following the Yellow Brick Road to Screen Glory

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The braintrust behind the smash-hit musical "Wicked" is finally coming together to take formative steps toward a movie version. Now that's showing some brains, heart and courage.

    Deadline.com reports the musical's producer Marc Platt, book writer Winnie Holzman and songwriter Stephen Schwartz having begun meeting with filmmakers to discuss the project. And if you thought it was tough to meet the Wizard, try beating out the talent reportedly seeking this plum assignment -- JJ Abrams (yes, that JJ Abrams), James Mangold, Ryan Murphy and Rob Marshall.

    It makes sense given the Oz-mania hitting Hollywood these days -- Sam Raimi's "The Great and Powerful Oz" is just one of the projects in the works -- especially given the billion dollar gross that Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter brought out of movie-goers in the fantasy-eeque "Alice in Wonderland."

    It's also important to mention the worldwide appeal for "Wicked"  is similar to that of "Mamma Mia!" which brought in the money for Universal in its movie version. That said, "Wicked" is missing out on the infectious music of ABBA which "Mamma Mia" capitalized on so effectively.

    "Wicked" is a prequel to the "Wizard of Oz" which brilliantly turns the famous story on its head and provides a Bush-era view of how a promising young green-skinned girl is publicly transformed into the Wicked Witch of the West. It's based on Gregory Maguire's novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West."

    It was originally destined for the screen, but producer Marc Platt changed course and headed to the stage first where "Wicked" has built up a loyal following on Broadway and through eight touring companies.

    (/blogs/popcornbiz)