Hot on the heels of casting announcements for the new film incarnation of Wicked, fans of the musical have launched an online petition wishing to ban actor James Corden from participating in the film. At the time of this writing, it has already racked up more than 36,000 signatures with a goal of 50,000.
Short, sweet, and to the point, the petition taps existing anxieties among musical fans already feel about Corden’s participation. Despite becoming an international star in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Into the Woods, Corden’s subsequent outings have not found the same level of success. He took a leading role in the film version of Cats in 2019, which went on to become a critical and commercial disaster. Last year he appeared in The Prom on Netflix. The Ryan Murphy-directed film also divided critics, with Corden’s performance as a flamboyant gay man earning the ire of some viewers, who viewed his portrayal as offensive. Earlier this year, Corden produced and played a small role in Cinderella for Amazon, which also received a mixed response.
To be clear, Corden’s name has not come up in any official casting notice or conversation with the makers of Wicked. Universal announced that the long-in-development-hell adaptation of the Broadway smash will go before the cameras next year with In the Heights director John M. Chu helming the film. Last week, Chu & Universal also announced that Ariana Grande and Oscar-nominee Cynthia Erivo will play the leading roles of Glinda and Elphaba, respectively.