Photo: ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’
In ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ he plays antagonistic Jim Bakker, in ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ he played Desmond Doss, and who could forget when he was Spiderman? For his next role though, Andrew Garfield will be doing something a bit different from the rest of his work. The exceptional actor moves to a different realm, always keeping his career versatile and interesting, on his way to conquer the musical world in the upcoming adaptation, ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’ The film will premiere on the opening night of the AFI Fest on November 10th, followed by a limited theatrical release on November 14th and Netflix release on the 19th.
An Exciting Moment For Theater Geeks
There are so many aspects of this film that are exciting for fans of theater. Genius Lin-Manuel Miranda makes directorial debut, hot off the success of the latest film adaptation of his Broadway hit, ‘In The Heights’. However, this will be his first film directing credit. If you haven’t heard of his breakthrough work, ‘Hamilton’, I am genuinely confused. Have you been living under a rock?
The script was adapted by Steven Levenson, who is known for book writing ‘Dear Evan Hansen’, another hugely successful play, which earned him a Tony Award. ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’ is based on the semi-autobiographical musical from the late Jonathan Larson. Larson was a composer, celebrated for his works addressing social issues such as homophobia, addiction, and poverty. He is most well known for his play ‘Rent’, for which he won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize alongside three Tony Awards. He, unfortunately, wouldn’t live to see the success of the musical, passing away tragically on the morning of the first Off-Broadway preview at the young age of 35. Anyone who is a fan of theater, in general, can identify that ‘Dear Evan Hansen’, ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Rent’ are all cultural milestones, and the three genius’ working in harmony will surely be a beautiful product.
Andrew Garfield Might Actually Be Able To Do Anything
As someone who is not that well cultured in Broadway, I was surprised to find out that Garfield actually holds his own with these theater superstars. In fact, he already has his own Tony Award under his belt, as well as another nomination. He started in 2012 as the character Biff Loman in a revival of Arthur Miller’s 1949 play ‘Death Of A Salesman’. Philip Seymour Hoffman starred in the production as the main character Willy Loman. Vogue writes But the heart of any ‘Salesman’ is the bruising battle of wills—and ferocious love—between Willy and his son Biff, played by the gifted, young English-American screen actor Andrew Garfield, whose grave intelligence and offbeat charisma made him a standout in ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’.” Garfield also received critical acclaim for his work in ‘Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches’ and ‘Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika’, which set a record for the most-nominated play with 11 Tony nominations, including Garfield’s nomination for Best Actor.
In the audience of one of the performances was Miranda, who was convinced that the actor could bring Larson’s vision to life as Jon. Miranda told The New York Times, “I just left thinking, ‘Oh, that guy can do anything’. I didn’t know if he could sing, but I just felt like he could do anything. So I cast him in my head probably a year before I talked to him about it.” It turns out Miranda was right, Garfield can do anything. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, he said, “I’ve never sung before. It was kind of a shot in the dark.” Which is both impressive and annoying that some people are just good at everything. Garfield also told The New York Times, “I’m not a musical theater guy in my history — it’s not something that I’ve been introduced to until the last few years, really, so Lin left me with a copy of the music and lyrics, and he wrote at the front of it, ‘This won’t make sense now, but it will. Siempre, Lin.”
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Besides his work in theater, Garfield is excellent in a wide variety of genres, making him an impressively adaptable actor even if he couldn’t sing. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in the biographical war film ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ where he plays Desmond Doss, a pacifist combat medic during World War II. He also was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘The Social Network’. He even played an entertaining Peter Parker/ Spiderman in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ franchise. He hit all the right notes of sincerity as well as excellent comedic timing; He perfected Spider-Man’s iconic sarcasm, morphing into the lovable dork who accidentally turns into a superhero. I agree with Miranda, there is nothing Garfield can’t do.
‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ A Personal Story About Dreams, Love, and Limited Time
The story is a personal one, autobiographical of Larson’s life. Garfield plays a young Jon in 1990 New York City, who while waiting tables in a diner is also anxiously awaiting the showcase of his musical. He had been working for eight years on what he hopes will be the next great American musical, and now the young composer’s show is days away from premiering and pressure is coming in from every direction. The pressure is not just external, like his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp) or his friend Micahel (Robin de Jesús) who has recently moved on from his dream in order to have financial security. It’s internal as well; as he nears his 30th birthday and reckons with the AIDS epidemic devastating those close to him, he struggles with the pressure to achieve his dream in a finite amount of time. “He spends the story trying to figure out what this ticking is: Is it turning 30? Is it that I haven’t succeeded? Is it some unconscious idea of my girlfriend’s biological clock combined with the pressure of my career?” Garfield said.
“Or is it all of my friends who are losing their lives at a very young age because of the AIDS epidemic?” In a voice-over in the trailer, Jon reveals that he has gone to three friends’ funerals in the last year, an upsetting statistic for such a young person. According to Los Angeles Times, Miranda wanted to work on the production of the new film because he felt a strong connection to the story after seeing it his senior year of college and feeling that Larson was speaking to him directly.
Miranda said, “I know what it’s like to be a struggling songwriter. I know what it is to be in your 20s writing that one musical, what it’s like to be in New York with a bunch of friends with artistic dreams and then watch them drop off one by one, to real life, while you’re still hanging on. It’s a story of doubling down on your craft in the face of impossible odds.” What is maybe most tragically beautiful about this story is the play the real-life Jon was writing would go on to become ‘Rent’, one of the most famous American plays which he would never get to see succeed. Thankfully though, his legacy lives on in the talented hands of Garfield, Miranda, and Levenson.
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Vanessa Hudgens, Bradley Whitford, Richard Kind, Judith Light
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Writer: Jonathan Larson (book), Steven Levenson (screenplay)
By Kylie Bolter
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