Today is going to be a good day and here’s why: Dear Evan Hansen is becoming a movie. The hit Broadway musical, which won six Tony Awards, will be adapted for film, with Ben Platt likely reprising his titular role. Ahead, everything we know about the film, including the two Oscar favorite actresses who’ve just joined the cast.
The movie will be based on the hit stage musical.
In November 2018, it was confirmed that Universal Pictures had acquired the film rights to the smash-hit musical from Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul. Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a high school student who suffers from anxiety and other mental health issues after a classmate’s suicide.
The original Broadway production opened in December 2016 at the Music Box Theatre and has been playing to regularly sold-out crowds ever since. (The production is currently paused and Broadway is shut down for the rest of the year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.) DEH was nominated for nine Tony Awards, winning six including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and acting trophies for Platt as Lead Actor and Rachel Bay Jones as Featured Actress.
Ben Platt will probably reprise his Broadway role as Evan Hansen.
Platt gave his final performance in the role of Evan Hansen on Broadway in November 2017, but he’ll probably play the character again in the film adaptation, according to reports from Deadline and Variety. Last September, while promoting his Netflix series The Politician, Platt was vague about returning to the role. “It’s unclear at this point,” he told The New York Times. “It’s being developed and certainly if it comes together in the next year or so, when everyone can forgive me for still playing a teenager, then yeah, I would love to do it.” In March, Platt more definitively told People, “I’d love to go back to it.”
As of September 2020, Platt hasn’t formally committed to returning, nor ruled out his involvement. “Yes and no,” Platt told Deadline when pressed for updates in July. “If COVID allows it, it’s on the docket for everyone and something that I think everyone is really looking to make. We think this is obviously a story that would be really effective to tell on film. But it’s a matter of can we make it happen in time for me to be conceivably young [enough for the role]. If the [COVID] guidelines prove that it’s possible over the next few months, I think it’s definitely a possibility.”
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Other Evan Hansens to grace the Broadway stage include Jordan Fisher (the last man in the role prior to Broadway’s shutdown), Taylor Trensch, Ben Levi Ross, and Noah Galvin, whom Platt is dating in real-life. Platt’s also working on a movie adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along, which will be filmed in real time across 20 years. It co-stars his longtime friend Beanie Feldstein and is directed by Richard Linklater.
Julianne Moore will play Heidi Hansen.
Oscar winner Moore will play Hansen’s mother Heidi, Deadline reports. This will be one of her first musical roles onscreen, playing the role that Rachel Bay Jones won a Tony for in 2017.
Amy Adams will play Cynthia Murphy.
Adams and her six Academy Award nominations are headed to the set of Dear Evan Hansen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she’s signed on to play Cynthia Murphy, mother of Kaitlyn Dever’s Zoe and Colton Ryan’s Connor. Adams is no stranger to a musical role—she sang onscreen in Disney’s Enchanted and The Muppets. Plus, she performed live during the 2008 Oscars to sing Enchanted‘s “Happy Working Song.”
Her character’s husband will be played by Danny Pino of FX’s Mayans M.C., according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Booksmart‘s Kaitlyn Dever will play Zoe.
Deadline reported that Kaitlyn Dever, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Netflix’s Unbelievable, is in talks to play Evan’s love interest Zoe Murphy. That’s the female lead in the film and will be Dever’s first major musical role onscreen. The outlet notes that she has previously written and performed songs for the soundtrack of 2018’s Tully, starring Charlize Theron. Dever also co-starred with Platt’s real-life best friend and Merrily co-star Feldstein in last year’s Booksmart. Onstage, Laura Dreyfuss (The Politician) originally played Zoe, who dates Evan over the course of the musical.
One of the actors playing Zoe’s friends in the film will be DeMarius Copes, Deadline reports. He’s an actor best known for starring in Broadway’s Mean Girls and will assume the role of Oliver.
The Hate U Give‘s Amandla Stenberg will play Alana.
Variety reported that Stenberg will play an “expanded” version of Alana in Dear Evan Hansen. Originally played by Broadway newcomer Kristolyn Lloyd, Alana is a high school senior whose inner struggles are hidden by her optimism and social media finesse. The outlet also reports that Stenberg will perform an original song in the movie, which they’ll pen with Paskek and Paul.
The roles of Jared and Connor have been cast.
Two new roles in the hit musical have been cast. According to Deadline, Nik Dodani (Atypical) will play Jared, an “enterprising family friend” of the titular Hansen. He’ll be joined by Colton Ryan (Little Voice) as Connor, the “catalyst” for the musical’s plot and a high school senior struggling with inner turmoil. Ryan is familiar with the world of DEH, as he was an understudy for the roles of Connor, Jared, and Evan Hansen in the original Broadway production.
Stephen Chbosky will direct with the creative team from Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen returning.
Most of the creative team involved in the Tony-winning production of DEH is returning for the film adaptation. Music and lyrics will come from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, inspired by their stage work. Since Dear Evan Hansen‘s success, the musical duo went on to win an Oscar for La La Land‘s “City of Stars” and were nominated for The Greatest Showman‘s “This Is Me.” Pasek and Paul will also executive produce the film, alongside Marc Platt (Ben’s father) and Adam Siegel.
The script will come from Steven Levenson, who wrote the stage musical’s book. Levenson is also penning the scripts for upcoming big screen musicals including Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick…Boom! and a Fiddler on the Roof remake. Filmmaker Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Wonder) will direct the movie. Director Michael Greif (original Broadway productions of Rent and Next to Normal) helmed the stage version.
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