"Cynthia and Ariana are like angels," Michelle Yeoh said of her 'Wicked' movie musical costars
Michelle Yeoh was hesitant to join the cast of the upcoming Wicked movie musical — until Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo sent a personal plea to work with the Oscar winner.
During Yeoh's appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday, the actress, 61, shared how she was initially worried about singing for the camera when director Jon M. Chu asked her to join the project, which recently completed filming in London.
"Neither did I," Yeoh said, when host Jimmy Fallon remarked that he didn't know Yeoh could sing. "When [Chu] called me, he says, 'I really wanted to you to do this for me, with me, read the script,' and I'm like 'Jon, for you? Yes! Send me the script!' "
Yeoh and Chu had previously collaborated on the 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians. In Wicked, the filmmaker cast Yeoh as Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Crage Hall at Shiz University, the school where lead characters Elphaba (Erivo, 37) and Glinda (Grande, 30) meet as teens.
"I read the script and I call him and I go 'Jon, you realize she sings, right?' And he goes, 'Uh-huh,' ... I don't sing," Yeoh shared. "He's like, 'Eh, don't worry.' "
The Academy Award winner shared that Chu then teamed up with Grande and Erivo to persuade her to join with a personal video. "The next day I get this video, and it's like 'Hi, Michelle, I just have two people here who really want to talk to you and tell you why you should be here,' " she said. "And it was Ariana and Cynthia. [They were like] 'It's imperative, it's imperative that you come and join us.' Imperative was the royal word."
"Cynthia and Ariana are like angels," she added. "When you walk on [set] and hear them sing, it's like you've gone to heaven."
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The film adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical — which is based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West — was first announced all the way back in 2016. The movie is split into two parts, with Wicked: Part One expected to release in theaters Nov. 27 and Part Two scheduled for November 2025.
Aside from Yeoh, Erivo and Grande, the movie also stars Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero and Grande’s boyfriend Ethan Slater as Boq.
Back in May 2023, Yeoh noted that Wicked will mark her first movie musical role during an appearance at the Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival in Fukuoka, Japan. "It's very exciting, and I can't wait for you all to see it," she shared at the time. "It was a risk, but you will never know which doors will open for you unless you try them all."
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