Cynthia Erivo on how she'll sing Wicked 's 'Defying Gravity' for movies

·3 min read
Cynthia Erivo on how she'll sing Wicked 's 'Defying Gravity' for movies

Everyone — including the drunk theater kids at your local karaoke bar — have put their personal stamp on "Defying Gravity," ever since the original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, first belted the Broadway hit in Wicked. That video compilation of all the Elphabas uniting to sing a supercut of the song is a visual representation of just how many people have performed it.

And now Oscar nominee and Tony winner Cynthia Erivo is going to deliver her take on the material in the two-part Wicked movie. Erivo tells EW she's taking a more natural approach to the song.

"I've been listening to it, and I've sung it. I kind of just go with it naturally," she says in an interview to promote Disney's Pinocchio. "There's the temptation to push and to do too much with it. I don't know that that's what my method will be. I think my method will be to communicate the meaning of the song as much as I can."

Erivo praises "Defying Gravity" composer Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music for the original Wicked stage production, for writing something "really spectacular." She says it's "a piece about not being held back from the greatness that a person has within themselves and allowing themselves to soar beyond their own ideals or beyond their own possible wishes and to become as great as they're meant to be."

Cynthia Erivo; Wicked
Cynthia Erivo; Wicked

Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage; Scott Barbour/Getty Images Cynthia Erivo says she's approaching "Defying Gravity" in 'Wicked' movies more "naturally" than pushing too hard.

"That's what that song is," she continues. "And I think if I make that the root, whatever comes out of my mouth, hopefully, will communicate that. You might hear things that are very me, but you might also hear things he wrote already."

Erivo stars as Elphaba in the two movies, which will also star Ariana Grande as Glinda. Jon M. Chu, who recently helmed the musical movie adaptation of In the Heights, will direct both films. The first one is scheduled to hit theaters on December 25, 2024, finishing with Erivo's "Defying Gravity." The second film will pick up after that moment in the story when it arrives on screens December 25, 2025.

"As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it," Chu wrote in an earlier statement. "As we tried to cut songs or trim characters, those decisions began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years. We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie but two! With more space, we can tell the story of Wicked as it was meant to be told while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys for these beloved characters."

"Cynthia, Ariana, and I — and all of the cast and crew — pledge to create nothing less than an experience that honors its foundation for all the fans who've waited for this movie, and to offer a thrilling, fantastical world full of dynamic characters that invites in those who are unfamiliar," Chu added.

But first, Erivo will be seen as more of a "good witch" as the Blue Fairy in Disney's Pinocchio, arriving on Disney+ Thursday.

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