Wicked’s Jonathan Bailey Was The Only Actor Who Could Film Amid The Actors Strike, And His Experience Sounds Wild

 Screenshot of Jonathan Bailey on Bridgerton.
Screenshot of Jonathan Bailey on Bridgerton.

Movie musicals are a tried and true genre, often capable of winning major Academy Awards. One highly anticipated upcoming musical is definitely the pair of Wicked movies, directed by Jon M. Chu. Wicked’s cast list is stacked, and includes Bridgerton actor Jonathan Bailey as leading man Fiyero. It turns out he was the only actor who could film amid the actor’s strike, and his experience sounds wild.

Production for the Wicked movies was pretty deep into filming when sets around the world shut down due to the strikes. But Jonathan Bailey isn’t a member of SAG-AFTRA, and therefore was able to do some work after the rest of his co-stars had to stop. He spoke about this strange filming experience in a clip from Radio Andy, saying:

It's pretty extraordinary, yeah. I think we had 10 days left filming before the strike hit. I was the only actor at the lead who was on an equity contract, so I had these four days where I came up and acted with people in wigs who were pretending to be [my co-stars].

Talk about a strange experience. While sometimes actors film their coverage without a co-star truly acting opposite them, it’s another experience entirely for folks to be standing in for Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in Wicked. I can only imagine how those scenes will ultimately look in the theatrical cut.

What we know about the Wicked movies is fairly limited, even for superfans of the Broadway musical of the same name. Filmmaker Jon M. Chu surprised people with the news that Wicked would actually be two movies, which helps the studio include all of the movie’s songs and characters without it being a 3 hour movie. So hopefully we get every track from original Broadway cast recording, and maybe even more.

While Jonathan Bailey was able to keep filming Wicked for a while by himself, he also told Andy Cohen that he’s not exactly wrapped as Fiyero. What’s more, he explained how incredible it is to be singing opposite vocalists like Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. Talk about some powerhouse singers.

Of course, much of the conversation about Wicked is surrounding the connection between two of its stars. Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater have made headlines for their romance, which resulted in Slater’s split from his wife and the mother of his child. The pair have reportedly been living together in New York, while they prepare to resume filming the movie musical in the U.K..

The first Wicked movie is currently expected to arrive in theaters on November 27th, 2024. In the meantime, check out the 2024 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.