It’s official: movie musicals are officially back. With the commercial success of The Greatest Showman and the critical success of La La Land, studios are becoming much more interested in investing in musical movies. The latest project to be greenlit? A feature film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen.
For those who haven’t caught this story on the Broadway stage, Dear Evan Hansen follows a high school senior named Evan Hansen who suffers from severe social anxiety. When one of his classmates kills himself, Evan gets pulled into the life of the family because they believed the two were secretly best friends. The lonely Evan allows the lie to continue as it snowballs not just into a story to comfort a grieving family, but a social media sensation about connecting in the digital age.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the music and lyrics for Dear Evan Hansen. You may recognize the two from their work on the aformentioned La La Land and The Greatest Showman. They also wrote “Runnin’ Home to You” for the Flash/Supergirl musical crossover episode.
According to The Wrap, Universal has bought the rights for the musical, with director Stephen Chbosky (Wonder, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) in early talks to direct. La La Land producer Marc Platt is attached to produce. His son, Ben Platt, won the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical in 2017 for his performance as Evan Hansen. Ben Platt has appeared in several feature films, including the Pitch Perfect series as Benji Applebaum, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the 25-year-old actor might reprise the role for the film adaptation.
In addition to the resurgence of movie musicals, it probably didn’t hurt the greenlighting process that a book adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen has been on the New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Best Sellers list for seven weeks and counting, proving that this story has staying power outside of its origin as a stage musical. Steven Levenson, who wrote the book adaptation, will also write the screenplay for the film.
More news on the Dear Evan Hansen movie musical adaptation as we hear it.