Adapting A beloved musical into film doesn’t come without anxiety, and that’s exactly what Ben Platt felt returning to his Tony-winning role for the movie version of Dear Evan Hansen (in theaters September 24). “I wanted to deliver a story that was as powerful and viscerally emotional as the stage piece.” Ultimately the opportunity to share the story about teenage loss and depression with a wider audience presented Platt with a unique opportunity. “The intimacy of film allows you to get even more inside Evan’s mind and heart.” To Platt, the character is someone everyone can connect to. “There is always something that makes human beings feel on the outside or feel disconnected.” But the anxiety wasn’t just felt in the story; producing the film during the pandemic presented its own problems. “It was very early COVID, and there was a lot of fear.” Eventually that stress created a close atmosphere. “We were all so grateful just to have even a tiny bubble of people to connect with.” And in some ways, it helped the final product. “It gave every day a different kind of focus than I’ve ever felt on a film, and it was the driving energy.”
Did you have any reservations doing a film adaptation of such a beloved Broadway show?
I was apprehensive, because AS WONDERFUL AND FULFILLING AS IT WAS, IT WAS ALSO VERY CHALLENGING EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY. BUT THAT WAS ALL OVERRIDDEN BY THE EXCITEMENT OF HOW MANY PEOPLE COULD GET TO SEE THE STORY IF IT’S A film.
The cast is amazing, but in particular Amy Adams and Julianne Moore. What was it like being in their presence?
EVERY BIT AS WONDERFUL AS YOU’D THINK. THEY BOTH HAVE SUCH JOY TO BE WORKING AND DOING SOMETHING THEY LOVE. IT WAS INSPIRING TO ME AS SOMEBODY WHO REALLY HOPES TO MAKE THINGS FOR A LONG TIME.
How do you think the music helps facilitate these conversations around mental health and anxiety?
MUSICALS IN GENERAL HAVE THE ABILITY TO REALLY SHED LIGHT [ON] OR DISCUSS THINGS THAT ARE REALLY DIFFICULT, OPPRESSIVE, UPSETTING OR PAINFUL, AND MAKE THEM MUCH MORE PROCESSABLE OR PALATABLE.
What does your album Reverie [out in August] mean to you?
ITS TWO MAJOR THEMES ARE THE TWO THINGS THAT I FELT THE MOST DURING THE PANDEMIC—FIRST FALLING IN LOVE WITH MY PARTNER, NOAH, AND THEN THE EXPERIENCE OF LIVING BACK AT HOME IN MY CHILDHOOD BEDROOM WITH MY FAMILY AND REMEMBERING WHO I USED TO BE.—H. Alan Scott
“There is always something that makes human beings feel on the outside.”