Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Characters

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My character list is very important. It will define much of the direction of the film, and as such, it will be a work in progress. To start, I will use Wikipedia's version of the characters, and I will have a small synopsis of how I want that character to be different.

Wikipedia synopsis:

  • Elphaba is the protagonist of the story, who eventually becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West. She acquires this nickname more as a result of her sister's nickname (the Wicked Witch of the East, who was so named by her political opponents) than for any wicked deeds. Wicked adds details regarding the social and political climate of Oz which make Elphaba a more sympathetic character. She is driven into conflict with The Wizard out of concern for the welfare of sentient and linguistically adept Animals who are suffering under the discriminatory and increasingly genocidal policies of The Wizard. Dorothy unwittingly becomes embroiled in the conflict after her house kills Elphaba's sister Nessarose; Glinda gives Dorothy Nessarose's famously magical shoes, which Elphaba fears may cause immense harm if they fall into the hands of the Wizard. Elphaba's name comes from sounding out Oz author L. Frank Baum's initials, "LFB". She is allergic to water which causes her to clean herself with oil instead.
  • Nessarose is Elphaba's sister. She eventually inherits the position of Eminent Thropp, leader of the state of Munchkinland. Through this position, she coerces Munchkinland into seceding from Oz. As a political leader of Munchkinland, she has both supporters and detractors. Her unhappy subjects nickname her "the Wicked Witch of the East." Nessarose is also the apple of her father Frexspar's (Frex) eye, and his most favored child out of three. She was born without arms, possibly as a result of her mother's attempts to prevent another green child, and the multi-hued glass shoes are charmed by Glinda to help her to become more independent.
  • Galinda, later Glinda, is Elphaba's roommate at Shiz University. She at first hates Elphaba as she sees her as a hindrance to her social climbing agenda. As she matures, she and Elphaba become close friends. It is implied as well that perhaps Galinda has feelings for Elphaba; indeed, she cares for her deeply, and Elphaba for her in return. However, the two are separated for fifteen years when Elphaba goes into hiding. Glinda is part of the high society in Gillikin, Oz's northern state. The Glinda in Wicked is parallel to The Glinda in The Wizard of Oz as she is seen as being snobby and inconsiderate but in The Wizard of Oz she is kind and gentle
  • Fiyero is a prince of the Winkies. He meets Elphaba at Shiz, and later has an affair with her while she is involved in a resistance movement against the Wizard of Oz. This leads to his murder by the Gale Force, the Wizard's secret police. Elphaba and Liir later take residence in Fiyero's widow's home, Kiamo Ko.
  • The Wizard is the dictator of Oz and primary villain of the story. He originally came to Oz from Earth in a hot air balloon seeking the Grimmerie, but became sidetracked when he discovered he could orchestrate a coup in Oz. It is heavily implied that he fathered Elphaba while her mother was under the influence of the Magical Elixir, which may explain Elphaba's green skin, aversion to water, and ability to occasionally read parts of the Grimmerie, which originated in the Wizard's world. After Elphaba's death and Dorothy's return to the Emerald City, the Wizard hastily leaves Oz for America in another (or the same) hot air balloon, and plans his suicide. After taking the Magical Elixir herself, Elphaba sees visions of the future, in which the Wizard fails to drown himself in the ocean. This is consistent with Baum's books, in which the Wizard later returns to Oz, alive. She also sees a sign in a shop window that says "Irish need not apply", hinting, that much like Elphaba, The Wizard faced prejudice.
  • Madame Morrible is the headmistress of Elphaba and Galinda's college (Crage Hall) in Shiz. She is suspected by Elphaba and her friends to be responsible for the murder of Dr. Dillamond. At one point, she proposes that Elphaba, Galinda, and Nessarose become future behind-the-scenes rulers in Oz, a proposal which they never willingly follow. Elphaba suspects that Madame Morrible has at least some magical powers and may have indeed controlled the fates of the three women. It is possible that she spies on Elphaba and sends messages to Liir through the Carp in the well at Elphaba's home in the Vinkus; the Carp dies at about the same time as Morrible. Morrible dies of natural causes minutes before Elphaba attempts to murder her.
  • Doctor Dillamond is a talking Goat and professor at Crage Hall in Shiz. Assisted by Elphaba, Dr. Dillamond performs research on the differences between animals and Animals (sentient animals). He suspiciously dies from a slit throat; Madame Morrible claims that this is an accident, but her account is contradicted by Galinda’s Ama (chaperon), Ama Clutch, who claims she witnessed the event.
  • Boq is a Munchkin who grew up with Elphaba and reunites with her at Shiz University. At first, he is only interested in talking to Elphaba in the hope that it will help his crush, Galinda, notice him. However, over time Boq and Elphaba become close friends and help Dr. Dillamond with his research, along with his college mates Crope and Tibbett. Later in life, Elphaba meets Boq while she is on the hunt for Dorothy along the Yellow Brick Road. He is now married to Milla, one of Glinda's friends from the University and has many children.
  • Dorothy Gale is a 12 year-old girl who lands in Oz in her house, which crushes Nessarose. She takes Nessarose's shoes under the advice of Glinda. These shoes are seen by many as a symbol of power over Munchkinland. During her travels, many citizens of Oz are superstitious about her because of these shoes and her name. Her first name sounds like a reversal of the name of the "king" of her land (Theodore Roosevelt). Because her name means "Goddess of Gifts" (the opposite of Theodore, "Gift of God"), it is implied that Dorothy may be the second coming of Lurline, who was also known by that title. The Gale Force fear her for her last name. The Wizard sends Dorothy to kill Elphaba, but Dorothy's intention is to ask her for forgiveness for killing Nessarose. Elphaba does not know whether to treat Dorothy with kindness or to fear her. Dorothy accidentally kills Elphaba by pouring water on her in an attempt to put out a fire on Elphaba's dress.
  • Liir is a boy who leaves the mauntery with Elphaba for the Vinkus. It is strongly implied that Liir is the son of Elphaba and Fiyero. She does indeed admit that there is a year of her life she does not remember, during which she could have bore Liir. Extremely chubby, Liir played with his supposed half-siblings while he and his mother stayed with Fiyero's widow. He is also the protagonist of Maguire's sequel to Wicked, Son of a Witch In Son of a Witch, Liir gets Candle pregnant and she has a green baby. This proves once and for all that Liir is Elphaba's son. Gregory Maguire has described Liir as "Elphaba's son" in interviews.
  • Yackle is a mysterious crone who appears frequently in Elphaba's life and who Elphaba suspects may be exerting control over her fate and be Kumbrica, the ambivalent goddess of Ozian myth. She is first mentioned by Nanny as an old gypsy woman from whom she bought the medicine which would stop Melena's second child being born green. Later, she appears as an old woman guarding the door to the Philosophy Club and later still, she appears as Mother Yackle, a maunt (a sort of Ozian nun) at the mauntery (a unionist nunnery) who takes care of the homeless Elphaba. She is also believed to be one of the reincarnation of the Kumbricia Witch who protects Elphaba as she is the second incarnation.
  • The dwarf claims to be an immortal sent to Oz to prevent the Grimmerie from returning to Earth. With his Clock of the Time Dragon, he seems to Elphaba to either be able to control fate or predict it.
  • Grommetik is a tik-tok creature, servant to Madame Morrible. It is strongly implied he is involved in a sinister plot orchestrated at least in part by her. From what is described in the novel, it is similar to Tik-Tok from Baum's original Oz series.
  • Nanny is a member of the Thropp family, though whether by blood or employment is never explicitly revealed. By the conclusion of the book, she has raised three generations of the Thropps, most notably having acted as chaperon to Nessarose, Elphaba and Glinda during their years at Shiz. She is still vital well into her eighties. Her attitude reflects this, as she is stoic, speaks her mind, and holds to somewhat inflammatory 'Lurlinistic' pagan beliefs.
  • Frexspar is Elphaba, Nessarose, and Shell's father (at least in the emotional and physical sense; there are questions of whether he shares biology with some of the children). Frex is a devout Unionist priest. Nessarose was his favorite child, and to her he gave the famous jeweled slippers.
  • Chistery, Killyjoy, the Bees, and the Crows are the animals which accompany Elphaba on the way to Kiamo Ko by coach which also become her familiars. The Bees are taken along as a source of honey for the travelers, and it is suggested that through dormant magical talent, Elphaba unconsciously sets them upon the coach cook, whom she dislikes and is later found stung to death at the edge of a cliff. Killyjoy, the cook's dog, takes an instant liking to Liir, who decides to keep him. The Crows are given to Elphaba by Princess Nastoya, who then specifically states that Elphaba is to send them to her if she needs help with anything. Princess Nastoya also tells Elphaba directly that they are to be her familiars. On the way to Kiamo Ko, they run across Chistery, an abandoned infant snow monkey, whom Elphaba rescues through another unconscious act of magic (creating ice under her feet as she runs across a pond to save him from Killyjoy). Later in the book he is taught by Elphaba to speak in hopes of completing Dr. Dillamond's study of how all life is connected. However, he only manages to mimic what others say, although he gains the ability to speak in full, comprehensible sentences in Son of a Witch. Elphaba sews wings onto the backs of him and the other monkeys, in a combination of Doctor Dillamond's studies and her practice of magic.
  • Melena is Elphaba, Nessarose, and Shell's mother, and comes from a high class family. She has mostly pagan traditions, which contradicts Frex's statements. She has very loose morals, and dreams of her days as a pampered girl, despite her rebelling against it at the time. She has a taste for alcohol and pinlobble leaves.
  • Avaric is a friend of Boq's, and Galinda's. He is described as being the "perfect asshole". Late in the novel, Elphaba visits him, and they have a discussion about evil with some of his friends.
  • Crope and Tibbett are boys who attend Shiz University along with Boq. They later become members of the main group of friends that features in the first part of the book. It is heavily suggested that the two are homosexual; however, it is never explicitly proven, only through sexual comments passed by the two about each other or other boys. While Crope eventually becomes a sort of valet for 'Lady Glinda', Tibbet goes mad from his experiences at the Philosophy Club (being publicly raped by a Tiger) and later dies under Elphaba's care while she is at the mauntery.
  • Turtle Heart is a wandering glassblower from Quadling country. He comes upon Melena's home while Frex is out preaching. Melena and Turtle Heart have an extended affair, and it is suggested that Frex may have had intimate relations with him, as well. It is also strongly suggested that he is the father of Nessarose.
  • Ama Clutch is Galinda’s caretaker at Shiz. She is present throughout Galinda and Elphaba's time at Shiz. Ama Clutch "loses" her sanity in a suspicious way when she witnesses the murder of Doctor Dillamond. It is strongly suggested that Ama Clutch was hexed by Madame Morrible in the specific way that Galinda initially lied about upon her arrival to Shiz (in an effort to get a private room), talking to inanimate objects as if they were people.

My view:

  • Elphaba: This is a good synopsis, and so I will leave it very much at that. I do wish to note, however, that I feel there is a bit of characterization that is left out for poor Elphie. She seems so distant and aloof in the novel sometimes, and I feel that is one thing the musical achieved very well: making Elphaba human. She feels so much more like one of us in the musical, and I attribute a good part of its success to this. Wicked, the novel, can sometimes feel a bit like a biography, which often detach themselves from emotion and deal strictly with fact. I prefer the book's version of Elphaba to the musical's, but I feel some lessons can be learned from the latter.
  • Galinda (Glinda): I enjoy thinking of Glinda and Galinda almost as two separate characters, and that name change is, to me, much more than simply just a tribute to the Goat, but blatant symbolism. Galinda, the upper-middle/lower-upper class debutante socialite is destroyed by the death of Doctor Dillamond, and Glinda, the hollow, face-value, all about appearances, wizard of both magical AND societal methods arises from her ashes. The novel is mostly focussed on Elphaba, it was written with her in mind, and as a commentary of the nature of good and evil itself. The musical brings in the character of Glinda in a very real way, and I feel that is an important step towards making this film, and I will explain why in my analysis of the next character. I feel Glinda needs to be two people: the very definition of "goodness" on the surface, but just as selfish and manipulative as Elphaba and Nessa underneath, using her magic and abilities in society to hide her true motives.
  • Nessarose: She is horribly neglected in this story, both versions in my opinion. Nessa plays such a LARGE role in pushing Elphaba over the edge into near-insanity, both intentionally and unintentionally. Elphaba's obsession over gaining her father's love, and inability to do so, are what make her do the things she does in the end and live up to the title of Wicked. Nessa was her sister who her father actually DID love. Elphaba had to have a love-hate relationship with her from the beginning. I feel Nessa's attitude towards her sister, and the fact that she was 'wicked' long before Elphie, merit her more than the part she was given in either story. Nessarose needs to be as well-developed of a character as both her sister and Glinda, and Nessa's rise to power to be what pushes Elphaba and Glinda towards their positions in the West and North. I like her not having arms better than being in a wheel-chair. This can be accomplished on film much more effectively than on stage. I feel it adds to her character that, despite being born with a disfiguring defect (one that most would consider unattractive), she was horribly vain and effected such an air of grace and self-importance that her fall into evil should feel more inevitable than a shock or change of character. The ability to move, granted her by the magic in the shoes from Glinda, and her position of power as the Imminent Thropp are what allow her true character to come out, and Elphaba's prediction of her being called the 'Bitch of the East' coming to fruition. This is neglected, and I want more of it.
  • Madame Morrible: Coming Later

My ambition and hope for this blog...

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Hello all! This is one of several blogs that I have started, and all of my prior attempts have fizzled out fairly quickly, mostly because I simply did not have the time to make the daily updates that I promised; my schedule was too unpredictable...

This one, however, will be different... I am telling you all now that I most definitely will NOT be posting every day.

Instead it will get done when I have time, and so I think this will help me stay motivated and connected.


So, enough of that.


I am creating this blog to try and get some sort of a screenplay (however informal) together for a possible adaptation of the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Many will know this popular book, and many will know it as the phenomenally successful musical screenplay simply known as Wicked.

I enjoyed the book throughly, having read it before hearing of the musical, and now that I know every word to every song of the Broadway production I love it even more.

I want there to be a movie, and I know that many people do as well, but many are very afraid of what may appear on screen, and I feel that this has hampered the effort. Fear of the movie ruining the book, as so many movies do, has kept fans at bay and stifled the calls for a motion picture version of the epic.


I want to know what people want to see in the movie. I know what I want to see, and I will be writing my portion according to that, but I want others to express and discuss their own opinions of what is important to the film and what should be done differently.

I know that blogs do not gain instant popularity by simply existing, and one must exist for some time before it can gain any kind of a following, let alone a readership or list of contributors, so I will be spending a great deal of time writing my version of the story and how I want to see it on screen.

This process will most likely take months, and with regular posts I should gain attention somewhere. Hopefully someone will see my page and feel strongly enough about something that I have written to comment.

This is not a business venture for me, simply a passion. I want to see this happen, and hopefully it will.


My first synopsis begins today, in my next post, with the characters.