Since making his name stateside through hosting The Late Late Show, James Corden has also become somewhat of a fixture on the musical scene.
With a background in theatre (his first stage appearance was in the 1996 musical Martin Guerre aged 18), it should come as no surprise that Corden has continued his work on stage. But this Tony Award-winner is struggling to find success with his audience, particularly as he focusses more on movie musicals than stage shows.
Now, with the news that there is to be a Wicked film adaptation, fans of the musical have created a petition to block James Corden from joining the cast.
James Corden petition trends on Twitter
When news of the Wicked movie musical was announced on Friday, 5 November 2021, fans immediately took to the internet to share their excitement. Others quickly turned their attention to James Corden, in the hopes that he would not be signed on to the cast.
This comes in response to the movie musical adaptations Corden has been involved with over the past few years, many of which have been dubbed flops.
It started with his breakout on the movie musical scene as The Baker in Disney’s Into The Woods. This beloved Sondheim classic was always going to be tricky to make, but with a star-studded cast including Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt, fans had high-hopes. It has since been condemned as a poor adaptation, despite the fact the film had Stephen Sondheim himself working on the production. Corden was relatively new to American audiences as the film was released in 2014. With his newfound celebrity status, Corden’s roles in new movie musicals are under more scrutiny.
In 2019, James Corden took on the role of Bustopher Jones in Cats, in what has been described as a “clear career low.” The film was panned and currently holds a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The following year, Corden appeared in The Prom as Barry Glickman. His performance in the Netflix musical was later torn apart by fans. This downward trend was solidified earlier this year with the release of Cinderella (2021). Although James Corden only played a small role in the Amazon movie, he was a producer of the film. Receiving mixed-to-poor reviews, this project cemented musical fans against The Late Late host.
Who has been cast in the Wicked movie?
Currently, the only two actors confirmed for the Wicked movie musical are Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. Grande, a well-known fan of Wicked, will take on the role of Glinda, and Erivo will play Elphaba.
Global pop star Ariana Grande is currently a judge on The Voice and has been joined by the original Glinda Kristin Chenoweth on the show. The pair have a long-standing friendship and Chenoweth has expressed her excitement at Grande’s casting. Chenoweth described Grande as “destined for this role” in a touching Instagram post.
Cynthia Erivo is a Tony Award-winning actress and singer who is best known for her performance as Celie Harris in The Color Purple on Broadway. She won a Tony for this performance. Idina Menzel was the actress who originated the role of Elphaba. Menzel said in response to the casting: “Congrats to two amazing women. May it change your lives for the better forever and ever as it has for us. So much love.”
Although James Corden has starred in a string of musical movie flops, the actor receives an unwarranted amount of pressure and hatred from musical fans. His theatre pedigree is enough to believe that he is being cast in these musicals for the right reasons. As shown with his Tony Award-winning performance in One Man, Two Guvnors, with the right team and production, Corden can be a star on stage.
If James Corden is cast in Wicked, maybe the pressure should be applied to the production team instead of the actors. Corden alone cannot be responsible for the success (or failure) of a musical movie adaptation despite what this recent trend suggests.