Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo Sang Live on ‘Wicked’ Set After Telling Their Director: ‘F— the Pre-Records. We’re Going Live’

“Wicked” director Jon M. Chu confirmed in a new interview with Vanity Fair that his leading ladies Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo sang live on set, similar to how other movie musicals such as “La La Land” and “Les Miserables” were filmed. Studios often rely on pre-recorded tracks when filming musical numbers, which requires performers to lip-synch along on set. Grande and Erivo were not interested in this traditional method.

“These are live vocals,” Chu said. “When we were shooting it, those girls were like, ‘Fuck the pre-records. We’re going live.’”

More from Variety

Chu remembered telling them that singing live on set meant “there’s going to be a lot of wind in your air pipes. Is that okay?” He said the actors responded with confidence, saying, “Yeah. That’s what we do.”

Based on the blockbuster Broadway musical of the same name, “Wicked” is a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” that centers on the tested friendship between Erivo’s Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch of the West) and Grande’s Glinda the Good Witch. Both actors are Grammy-winning singers, but Erivo is also an Oscar-nominated actor. Grande got her start on Broadway and pivoted to acting courtesy of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” but the “Wicked” movie marks her biggest acting role by far.

“I just need to say that I don’t think people realize that she’s got the chops,” Erivo told Vanity Fair about Grande’s acting. “I don’t think people realize how brilliant this person’s brain and voice and talent is.”

Grande recently appeared on the “Zach Sang Show” to promote her latest music album, “Eternal Sunshine,” and said that she’s “never wanted something as badly as I did” the role of Glinda in the “Wicked” movie musical.

“I had no expectations, I was just thankful to go in at all, I was so excited to have the opportunity to audition,” Grande added, “Since I was 20, I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t know when this is happening, but when it’s happening, may I please at least just audition?’ That’s all I wanted, was an audition. I’ve never wanted anything more.”

“Wicked” is being released in two parts. The first movie is set to hit theaters on Nov. 27 from Universal Pictures. “Part Two” will follow a year later on Nov. 26, 2025.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.