Jeff Goldblum Is Playing The Most Iconic Wizard Of All Time
Jeff Goldblum will play the Wizard of Oz in the upcoming film adaptation of the stage musical Wicked. According to a Tweet by director John M. Chu, the Jurassic World actor has officially been cast as the Wizard in Wicked: Part One, along with Ariana Grande as Glinda, Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba (later to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West), and Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible. Though Jeff Goldblum has appeared in many legendary science fiction films in his long and illustrious career, Wicked will be a rare role for him in the fantasy genre.
Wicked originates from the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, which serves as a prequel to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and takes a revisionist perspective on the original story (as well as its various film and stage adaptations). The novel was adapted in 2003 to a massively successful Broadway musical originally starring Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Frozen’s Idina Menzel as Elphaba. The role of the Wizard was originally played by Mad Men’s Robert Morse in trial runs, followed by Cabaret’s Joel Grey for the official Broadway run.
Now it is Jeff Goldblum’s turn to take on the role of Wicked’s Wizard, who is actually a human con man named Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs who arrived in Oz via hot air balloon by accident and was mistaken for a great sorcerer. The portrayal of the Wizard has widely varied in different takes on the story, from the kindly, bumbling old man of the Judy Garland-starring 1939 The Wizard of Oz to a failed New Jersey politician in the musical The Wiz to an impoverished stage magician in the science fiction adaptation Tin Man.
Prior to Jeff Goldblum taking on the role for the Wicked film, the Wizard has been played by notable figures like Christopher Lloyd, James Franco, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Richard Pryor. Jeff Goldblum is best known for his roles as a scientific expert and reluctant hero (as in Jurassic Park and Independence Day), so Wicked may be quite the change for him. The story portrays the Wizard in one of the darkest lights in the long history of Oz spin-offs, revealing him to be a ruthless dictator who sees himself (as a man from Earth) above the laws of Oz and is willing to murder entire families to maintain his power.
Perhaps Jeff Goldblum is interested in mixing up his public image in the current phase of his career, with Wicked being another iteration of the powerful, amoral characters he seems to be drawn to. In Thor: Ragnarok, Goldblum played Marvel’s Grandmaster, who rules over the planet Sakaar via executions and gladiatorial combat, and he will play a modernized, paranoid version of the Greek god Zeus in the show Kaos (taking over the role from a departing Hugh Grant). Wicked: Part One is set to release in theaters on Christmas 2024.