WICKED: Fans Preemptively Petition to Exclude James Cordon

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James Corden Wicked

Fans Preemptively Petition to Exclude James Cordon from Wicked

There is blunt two-sentence petition pleading against James Cordon being considered, or even in close proximity to, the work in progress, Wicked, which has inexplicably caught on through social media by the tens of thousands. No particular reason or rationale for this demand is offered — only that he be kept away at all costs.

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But so far there has been no mention of the comedian and talk-show host being connected in any way to this production, as actor, producer, or anything else. Cordon himself, already very busy with other projects, has expressed no interest, publicly at any rate, of being the least bit involved in any aspect of Wicked.

The development of Wicked as a film has been in the pipeline since 2004, following the enormous critical and financial success of the Broadway musical. It is based on the first novel from the adult fantasy series “The Wicked Years” by Gregory Maguire, penned as a revisionist exploration of the Oz universe. L. Frank Baum himself, pioneer and innovator that he was, produced and performed in the first (partial) film adaptation of his work, The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, in 1908.

Over time, a number of people have considered, or been considered, for involvement in the production. Originally Stephen Daldry was slated to direct, but had to bow out due to scheduling and location difficulties, and Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) subsequently hired. So far two leads have been cast: Cynthia Erivo as Ephalba and Ariana Grande as Glinda.

This curious, thus far unsupported petition was evidently started by an industry jack-of-all-trades fellow by the name of Mikel Miller. According to his public profiles, he is not without accomplishments, having worked fairly steadily in a number of roles: actor, producer, crew, writer, and designer. On the other hand, it would be unfair to say that he is at the top of the industry game overall. In the meantime, Miller has capitalized on his plea: a website for the sale of various items, including apparel on which the petition’s wording is transformed into a shorter decorative slogan.

Meanwhile, why Miller has targeted Cordon for such rancor remains a mystery. There is no hard evidence that any interaction of note occurred between these two at any point. Some supporters through Miller’s social media channel cite a public incident where Cordon made a jocular gesture while promoting Cinderella. Others cast about hints that Cordon may be something of a jinx, owing to his roles in Cats and The Prom, though nothing solid has so far come to light pointing to the comedian as being singularly responsible for the poor audience and critical reception of these films.

Miller and his social media fans may or may not shed any light on his peculiar proclamation, and the intended impact it has on the production itself, if any, remains to be seen. So far, Cordon hasn’t publicly commented on the petition either, rendering the basis for the petition, at least as a matter of public record, virtually unsubstantiated.

Fortunately, apart from all this, there is plenty to look forward to as the accomplished producers, Marc Platt (La La Land) and David Stone (The Boys in the Band), continue to bring more professionals into the fold for the filming of Wicked. Already on board are writers Winnie Holzman (My So Called Life) and, naturally, Gregory Maguire.

Wicked will begin shooting in June of 2022 when Sky Studios opens in the U.K., and in fact will be the first production to be filmed there. Universal Pictures will release the film in the United States.

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