Casting ‘Wicked’ – Five Actresses Who Could Play Glinda

Recently we looked at five actresses who could play the lead role of Elphba, The Wicked Witch of the West in a film adaptation of the musical Wicked. Elphaba would be a sought after role for any actress with a powerful singing voice. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, would also be an in-demand role for any actor with an excellent soprano voice.

In the musical Glinda was originally named Galinda, a preppy, rich girl who is adored by the students of Shiz University and becomes Elphaba’s nemesis. But the two end up becoming friends but are forced to go their separate ways.

Besides from being a good singer the actress who plays Glinda needs to be glamorous and have an upbeat personality, a Queen Bee and well, a bit of a selfish bitch. So let us look at five actresses who could play the famous witch.

Kristen Bell
kristen bell

The first actress to make it onto this list is Idina Menzel’s Frozen co-star Kristen Bell. Bell is a prolific actress on film and TV and has shown herself to be a talented comedic presence. She is best known for playing the teenage P.I. Veronica Mars in her self-titled show. As Veronica Mars, Bell played a quick-witted, articulate young woman, who can mentally disarm her rivals. While in Frozen her character of Princess Anna was very naive, wide-eyed innocent. If Bell can combine the two personalities, she would be an excellent Glinda.

However Bell is 35-years-old, making her the oldest candidate on the list and it would be a stretch to play college age Glinda. Bell is known for her short stature, so she might be able to get away with playing the blonde witch.

Emily Browning
emily browning

Hailing from Australia Emily Browning has been acting ever since she was 10 and has developed quite a filmography, featuring movies like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, gangster flick Legend and the upcoming TV series American Gods.

Browning’s first displayed her singing voice in Sucker Punch, covers of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, “Where is My Mind” and The Smith’s “Asleep”. The soundtrack was one of the few saving graces in Sucker Punch with Browning giving the songs a haunting quality. Browning also played a rising rock star in the Catherine Hardwicke’s Plush and led the British musical God Help the Girl.

Browning has soft facial features which gives her an innocent look that would fit Glinda. She has also played unlikeable characters like in the Aussie indie movie Sleeping Beauty.

Lily James
lily james in black and white

English actress Lily James is someone who is experienced at playing characters who come from privileged backgrounds, starring in Downton Abbey and the BBC miniseries War & Peace and was the embodiment of goodness in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Cinderella. She also played a spoiled rich kid in the British sports movie Fast Girls where she is initially hostile to the main character before they developed respect for each other – similar to Glinda and Elphba in Wicked.

James also sang “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and “Lavender’s Blue” in Cinderella – showing herself to have a soft, gentle singing voice.

There is no doubt that James is a beautiful woman, and she would look the part. She also showed herself to be a capable dancer in Cinderella so could replicate that for the big number “Dancing Through Life”.

Anna Kendrick
anna kendrick still

Anna Kendrick is the only actress who can play Elphaba and Glinda: even the original Broadway Glinda Kristin Chenoweth says it so. Kendrick would actually be a better fit to play Glinda – her singing voice is a higher pitch than what would be required to play Elphaba. This can be seen in her performances in The Last Five Years and Into the Woods.

Kendrick has developed a reputation for being the ultimate girl-next-door and having a lovely sweet screen persona. But this has not stopped her from playing bitchy characters. In the Twilight series Kendrick played Jessica, Bella’s outgoing friend, but in reality was a nasty character towards her friend. Kendrick also berated her onscreen brother in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The Maine-born actress could easily portray the duplicitous nature of Glinda.

Amanda Seyfried

amanda seyfried still

Amanda Seyfried is an actress, a trained opera singer and has experience in performing in musical movies – starring as Cosette in Les Mis√©rables and played Meryl Streep’s daughter in Mamma Mia. She can easily hit the high notes that Glinda has to sing like in “What is This Feeling.”

Seyfried is also a prolific actress – starring in comedies and dramas. She stole the show in her first film role as the dimwitted Karen Smith in Mean Girls and was made out to be a heavenly presence in Pan. She also played a selfish, self-centered woman, in the Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West – a movie that is better than the critical reaction suggests.

Seyfried is also known for her unique appearance, having lustrous blonde hair and wide expressive eyes. It would be easy to picture her in the glamorous clothes that Glinda would wear.

Kieran Freemantle
Kieran Freemantle
I am a film critic/writer based in the UK, writing for Entertainment Fuse, Rock n Reel Reviews, UK Film Review and Meniscus Sunrise. I have worked on film shoots. I support West Ham and Bath Rugby. Follow me on Twitter @FreemantleUK.