To prove just how big of a year 2021 is for movie musicals, Dear Evan Hansen actually looks like the underdog of the lot.
With In The Heights and West Side Story garnering so much pre-release buzz, the big screen adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen — the 2015 Broadway sensation that won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical — is just now starting to sneak onto the radar with this first look trailer.
It stars the show’s Tony-winning star Ben Platt in the title role, who still surprisingly passes for a high schooler here (if barely). Having seen him in the Original Cast production, I can attest to the powerhouse that he was.
The film, as is to be expected, takes a more literal approach than the stage production did (which utilized its limitations to powerful effect with a wide variety of digital displays, creating a surreal, hypnotizing quality to this social-media driven melodrama). For those who were mesmerized by the theatrical presentation, this real-world dramatization may actually lose an edge that the theatre provided.
Even so, it appears that director Stephen Chbosky (Wonder, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) has embraced the spirit and tone of the source material, driven by Tony, Oscar, and Grammy winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman).
It’s a complicated, compelling story about a loner teenager who finds himself perpetrating an accidental lie, both for selfless and selfish reasons, the stakes of which compound to nerve-racking proportions. For me, the two MVP supporting characters of the show were the mom roles, played here by Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, two casting coups that boost my own intrigue for the film’s possibilities.
Co-starring Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart, Justified) and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give, The Hunger Games), Dear Evan Hansen will be found only in theaters this fall when it opens on September 24, 2021.
(To read more about it, check out this preview from Vanity Fair.)
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