Andrew Garfield Says Lin-Manuel Mirandas Tick, TickBoom! Was The Most Joyous Set I’ve Ever Been On’

Multi-hyphenate, Broadway treasure and seemingly all-around creative savant Lin-Manuel Miranda admitted that, in making his film directorial debut, even he had to face a slight learning curve. “There were definitely times I yelled ‘Cut!’ when I meant ‘Action!’” he chuckled at AFI Fest’s opening night at the TCL Chinese Theater, where the spotlight was centered on his Netflix film “Tick, Tick…Boom!”

But the “Hamilton” impresario told Variety he had an inherent comfort level with the adaption of the boundary-breaking autobiographical stage musical from the late “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson, one of Miranda’s early theater heroes. “For me, I really understood the world, and I really understood what Jonathan’s guts felt like because I’ve been there — to quote Leo McGarry in ‘The West Wing,’ ‘I’ve been there, and I know the way out.’”

“I had great role models, too,” Miranda said. “Every job I’ve done since ‘Hamilton’ has been working with directors of musical films: the great Rob Marshall, the great Jon M. Chu, watching [“Hamilton” director] Tommy Kail make eight mini-movies about Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse [for “Fosse/Verdon”], and studying Bob Fosse as a result. So that’s been the film school I wanted but couldn’t afford ever since 2015.”

The first-time filmmaker wasn’t above tipping the scales in his favor, he revealed, “beginning at the top of the call sheet with Andrew Garfield. When I went to go see ‘Angels in America’ at the National Theater, I didn’t know I was walking out obsessed with that guy being in my movie. But he’s such a beast and he’s so incredible on stage, and Jonathan Larson was a creature of the theater. I just left feeling like, ‘That guy can do anything.’”

Not only did Miranda surround Garfield with a murderers’ row of musical theater talent — including Vanessa Hudgens, Judith Light, Robin de Jesus and Joshua Henry (the latter two veterans of Miranda productions), he also peppered the film with an array of familiar faces — and voices — that will dazzle and delight any aficionado of the Great White Way. “It was really thrilling to stack the deck with theater folks I always wanted to work with,” Miranda said. “People are like, ‘So many theater cameos.’ I didn’t think of them as cameos. I thought of them as like, ‘Oh, man, Bradley Whitford’s in my movie playing Sondheim!’”

Garfield said Miranda’s distinctive strengths as a filmmaker springs from “the confidence that he has in himself, and the confidence that he gives to us all. There’s a strange sense that, because he is able to do anything, that is contagious, and we start to feel like we can do anything. And he encourages that, he brings it out, a joy and a playfulness that he would bring every day. It was the most joyous set I’ve ever been on.”

The film’s screenwriter Steven Levenson — who, like Miranda, is one of the most well-traveled Broadway-to-Hollywood commuters of the moment, having penned the book for “Dear Evan Hansen” and served as “Fosse/Verdon’s” showrunner — says it’s only appropriate that a convergence of stage troupers told Larson’s story.

“There is something very universal about this story that anyone can relate to,” said Levenson, “about being at a crossroads in life and deciding whether to pursue something that is unlikely but fulfilling, or kind of give up and listen to the universe, which is telling you to give up. But there is something very specific about the experience of putting on a workshop of a new musical, and the specific terror of that, that Lin and I know very well.”

Lessening any nerves on this film was the fact Miranda wasn’t interpreting a beloved, iconic Broadway juggernaut. He prefers “the freedom of this is a musical not a lot of people knew very well. It wasn’t like, ‘Are you doing this? Are you doing this?’ I didn’t feel that kind of heat that I’m sure Jon M. Chu is feeling right now as he works on ‘Wicked,’ bless his heart – he’s one of my best friends. I want to just make cool stuff that wouldn’t otherwise get made.”

After adding yet another skill set to his creative toolbox, Miranda said his appetite is thoroughly whetted to step behind the camera again. “It’s actually weirdly clarified my resolve that if I get to make another film, I want to make a musical film, because they’re the most fun and they’re the most challenging,” he explained. “And why are we doing this if we’re not challenging ourselves and learning? So I hope to make more.”

Source: Read Full Article