By MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Millions of people will get to know shy teenager Evan Hansen this month, but Ben Platt is saying goodbye.
The actor and singer is inextricably linked with Evan, creating the role in 2015 and eventually leading the musical “Dear Evan Hansen” to its world debut in Washington, DC He quickly took Evan off Broadway, then to Broadway and the Grammys. triumphs. He now reveals the character in the cinema, a last couple.
“I was so very grateful and very privileged to have the opportunity to come back and say a final goodbye,” Platt said. life.”
Directed by Stephen Chbosky, the film is not a filmed version of the musical but a complete cinematic overhaul, with new musical numbers and the development of a minor character from the musical into a complete and complex young woman. .
“I think the best movie musicals that I love are using the film as an opportunity to improve and develop some elements of the musical that aren’t finished or can still be improved,” Platt said.
Alongside Platt is a brand new cast – Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan and Danny Pino. Steven Levenson adapted the script from his original version of the scene. Platt is the only actor to make the jump from stage to screen, angering some in the theater community.
“Dear Evan Hansen” focuses on the awkward Evan who inadvertently becomes a social media sensation, with dire consequences. A lie about being the best friend of a deceased classmate earns him popularity and a girlfriend, but the lie ends up corrupting.
It captures the tensions between children and their parents, as well as the exploration of suicide, alienation and peer pressure. This is the central paradox: why do people feel so lonely in such a connected world? – is a timely message as the nation grapples with COVID-19 isolation.
“We have all been through this horrible ordeal. He left scars on our societies and on our psyches. And I think “Dear Evan Hansen” is part of the solution to help us heal and help us find hope that we desperately need, but frankly deserve, ”said Chbosky.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s songs include the iconic anthem “You Will Be Found”, “Waving Through a Window”, “For Forever” and “Words Fail”, but some have not made it to theaters.
The stage version, for example, opens with the two moms of the show singing “Anybody Have a Map? but the new movie roars with “Waving Through a Window” with Evan in his bedroom.
Chbosky explains that “Waving Through a Window” was necessary to start the film because it is told from Evan’s point of view and instantly anchored the film in his head. “As hard as it was to kill this darling, it opened up the whole movie,” he says. Fans will always hear, “Does anyone have a card? If they pay attention: Evan’s high school marching band plays the song in the opening sequence, an adorable little Easter egg.
The film “Dear Evan Hansen” conforms to the intimate nature of the stage version, which Chbosky calls “a musical in small m” and “more like a drama with songs”. In this version, the songs become thoughts in the characters’ heads and no one is suggesting that they are actually singing or that someone in the scene is singing.
The filmmakers took the opportunity to expand the role and give a song to Alana, a hyper organized friend of Evan (played by Stenberg) who confesses that she shares a lot of his anxieties and that many more people than he thinks. too. There’s also a revised ending showing more of Evan’s repentance.
But one thing that was never discussed was asking Platt to replay Evan. Despite some snark online about his age – he’ll be 28 this month – Platt stunned the director with a performance he calls the “legend thing”.
“See the movie,” Chbosky says. “If at the end of the movie you still feel like that, well, okay. I could shell out a few dollars for kindness therapy. But the great, great, great, great, great majority of people, once they see the movie and see what it can do, it’s like, “Who else can play it?” Anybody. Literally no one. He’s Evan Hansen.
Filming was made more difficult by COVID-19 protocols, but Platt believes the isolation and fear the pandemic sparked was captured by the cast.
“The only bright side to the absolute horror of the pandemic was that we were already really in that emotional headspace,” he says. “As difficult and somewhat lonely as it made the experience, I think it really added to the integrity and authenticity of the feeling of the film.”
Mark Kennedy is on http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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