ANYONE BUT CORDEN! After Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande Announced as 'Wicked' Stars, Petition Started to Keep Corden From the Film! Mean Girl's Taylor Lauderman Expresses Frustration with Clout Casti
The casting of Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in the titular roles of the highly anticipated Wicked movie has sparked a large but interesting response around the world. It has caused a petition regarding the movie musical to start trending. The intention of this petition? Keep James Corden out of the cast of Wicked. The petition on change.org eloquently states, "James Corden, in no way shape or form should be in or near the production of Wicked the movie...that's pretty much it." The petition comes after a series of movie musical flops that Corden has been a part of ranging from Cats to Cinderella. While Corden remains an incredible talent, the fans have spoken.
The announcement has catalyzed other discussions as well. While most seem thrilled with the casting of the leading roles, some dissenting voices have entered the arena as well. Taylor Lauderman, the woman who played Regina in the Original Broadway Cast of Mean Girls, posted on her Instagram story a picture of the Deadline article with the announcement under text that read "Yyyy did I even audition or think I had a chance?!". A second post followed the first which showed a teary-eyed Taylor with a caption that read, "This business...you can't care too much about any role you're auditioning for (or you could get hurt & won't come back) but you have to care enough to give it your all...I cared too much this time. I hope it's okay that I'm sharing this."
Alright. There's a lot to unpack here.
I AM CHOKING pic.twitter.com/zhWBpDL6oh— Zach Schiffman (@schlife) November 5, 2021
First of all, Lauderman offers us a rare and honest look at the struggles of professional acting. There is emotional hardship apparent in the disparity between wanting something so badly that you have to risk it all and also protect yourself from the crushing disappointment that comes when you don't get it. Acting is a challenging field. Thank you for your honesty, Taylor. Secondly, it is important to note that Taylor did not criticize the women who received the roles. When I first glanced at the post, that was my original understanding. However, upon closer inspection I noticed that she really doesn't. She is simply airing her frustrations publicly; which, while admittedly not always the smartest decision, is incredibly human. We've all been there.
Her post does draw attention to a pervasive theme in Hollywood that repetitively angers many: clout casting. Clout casting, or casting based on notoriety, number of followers, and level of celebrity, angers those trying to break into the field and audiences tired of seeing the same performers (I'm looking at you James Corden) alike. Today, when entering an audition room, it is not uncommon for producers to ask how many TikTok followers you have. Regardless of talent or experience, the person with the higher following, more often than not, gets the gig.
In the specific instance of Wicked, Erivo and Grande both have the resumes and talents that completely support their individual castings. Grande began her performance career on Broadway in the musical 13, and Erivo is just an Oscar away from being an EGOT, having won an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award for her work on the Broadway show The Color Purple. They are perfectly cast and perfectly deserving of these roles. That being said, even this very legitimate casting bares an awareness of the crowd that specifically Ariana Grande will draw. While she without question has the talent to back up the role, producers know that her name on a will sell tickets.
There is an inclination with producers to pack their shows with massive stars in order to sell tickets. The logic follows that if celebrities head the project, the production will make money. Honestly, the logic is sound. Why would someone who is trying to create a successful product bank on anything less than a sure thing. If you asked me to get a wheel as fast as I could and you gave me the option between a box of tools or an ALREADY CREATED WHEEL...I'm going to have to go with the already created wheel. FURTHERMORE, when the wheel is as sensationally talented as Ariana Grande, has experience on Broadway, and definitely KILLED her audition, there is no question: the wheel is getting cast.
Still, a big name is not enough to make a project great. There have been several projects that weigh on quantity rather than quality, relying fully on name recognition to boost a project. For example, notorious movie musical Cats had every big name star under the sun in it (Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, obviously James Corden, and MORE), and it was still...not...good. Quality of the material is just as important when it comes to casting as star power is. In today's age of social media, that is often forgotten.
That being said, shows that have minimal star power but IMMACULATE content will surpass star-power-only shows every time. The Office, for example, originally ensured that no big name people were on the project. They are still one of the top rewatched shows of all time. Speaking of the most re-watched shows of all time, Squid Game is the number one watched show in America even though there are no top American stars in the series. While there may be major Korean names involved in the production, American's have been drawn to the show because of its quality. If these shows had been clout cast, they would not be the sensations that they are today.
Yet, without the star factor, many phenomenal shows that should become famous do not get the recognition they deserve. Why? There is no big name to draw them in. For example, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend by and starring the supremely talented Rachel Bloom, did not attract the mass amounts of viewers that a popular show today typically gets. One of the most intelligent and well written comedies of the modern day (I said it and I meant it), the show ran for only four seasons with recognition among a very niche sector of the population. Could this have been solved with even some clout casting?
As the world progresses, every field gets infinitely more complicated. The arts are no exception. Casting and producing remains a ceaseless mind-field. Honestly, I don't know what's write. Share the article and tell us your opinion.