Lin-Manuel Miranda launches film festival with directorial debut

Premiere screening for
Lin-Manuel Miranda attends a premiere screening for "Tick, Tick... Boom" during the opening night of AFI Fest at TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

November 11, 2021

By Rollo Ross and Sandra Stojanovic

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Hamilton” writer Lin-Manuel Miranda opened the American Film Institute’s festival on Wednesday with the premiere of his directorial debut, “Tick, Tick… BOOM!”, a musical by Jonathan Larson, most famous for Broadway hit “Rent”.

Larson died at 32 from a heart condition and received three posthumous Tony Awards for “Rent”. Although the original “Tick, Tick… BOOM!” was a solo piece, the autobiographical production has expanded over the years.

“I look calm but I’m freaking out,” Miranda told Reuters at the premiere, paying tribute to Larson. “I’m very anxious for the world to see it. This is such a labor of love. I’ve always said ‘If they only let me make one movie’, I’m really glad it’s this one because I owe Jonathan Larson a debt I could never repay. He’s the guy who inspired me to write musicals.”

The film also represents a first for Andrew Garfield who plays Larson as he had to learn how to sing.

“It was just a beautiful opportunity that I got to learn a skill that I hadn’t explored and it’s a whole other form of expression that I get to now continue,” Garfield said. “It’s healing. Singing is healing. I love it so much.”

Miranda talked about how much he enjoys directing films, saying he hoped to make more musical movies.

“I’ve wanted to be a film director since I was three years old. This is my first love,” said Miranda, who’s best known for writing musicals.

“I want to make more musical films,” he added. “I worked really hard at getting good at this very particular thing which is writing musicals, and it was wonderful figuring out how the skillset adapts to directing.”

“Tick, Tick… BOOM” will play in cinemas from Nov. 12 before streaming on Netflix from Nov. 19.

(Reporting by Sandra Stojanovic and Rollo Ross; Editing by Karishma Singh and Robert Birsel)