The time has finally arrived! While the massive Broadway shutdown has put a hold on live theater in the United States, it hasn’t stopped musicals from getting movie adaptations. The big-screen adaptation of the globally-acclaimed musical Dear Evan Hansen has been in production for almost a year — with casting coverage dating back to June 2020.
Fans gathered excitedly as the trailer was released earlier today. However, many were shocked by the casting decisions made and have taken to tweeting their disapproval and light-hearted jokes.
The general consensus appears to be: The original star of Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen, 27-year-old Ben Platt, is way too old to be playing the titular high school character.
What is Dear Evan Hansen?
Originally premiering on Broadway in 2015, Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a friendless high school student named Evan Hansen who has been struggling with his mental health. He has been diagnosed with anxiety personality disorder and is being raised by his protective single mother. Although the two have a tight-knit relationship, they butt heads over his treatment and medications.
Along with Evan’s doctor, his mother encourages him to write encouraging letters to himself, starting with “Dear Evan Hansen…” After a brief conflict with a troubled student named Conner Murphy, one of Evan’s letters is taken and mocked by Conner. Taking an upsetting twist, Conner dies of suicide with Evan’s letter in his belongings — leading the Murphys to believe that Evan was Conner’s peer.
This launches the musical into many dramatic twists and turns as Evan finds himself unable to tell the Murphys the truth and he fabricates having a close friendship with the other teenager.
Dear Evan Hansen’s lyrics and composing were done by the Tony-Award-winning duo Pasek and Paul, the lyricists behind The Greatest Showman and La La Land. The movie was put in the directorial hands of The Perks of Being A Wallflower’s Stephen Chbosky.
Starring in Dear Evan Hansen is Broadway actor Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Kaitlyn Denver (Booksmart) and The Hate U Give’s Amandla Stenberg.
What are fans saying?
Despite the musical’s movie adaptation being highly-anticipated, fans seemed rather disappointed by the recently released trailer. At the forefront of the discourse, fans are talking about Ben Platt’s age and how he appears too old to be playing the title character in Dear Evan Hansen.
Prior to the movie’s trailer being released, Platt commented on his appreciation to be brought back to play this role — in a movie that is being made by his father’s production company, Marc Platt Production. Platt told NME that he lost weight and bid adieu to his beard in order to “authentically” play the film role.
Producer and writer Madeline Ducharme compared the movie’s casting to the infamous casting of the musical Grease — which featured many middle-aged adults playing high school students. They wrote, “The Dear Evan Hansen trailer is really giving Grease energy.”
Echoing further criticism, they added, “This grown man played a college student in 2012, now it is 9 years later and he’s playing a high schooler!”
Other top Twitter commentary involve fans and non-fans sharing their favorite gifs and images of poor casting decisions for high school characters and other age-related memes.
Dear Evan Hansen is expected to premiere in theaters on September 24, 2021.