The trailer for Dear Evan Hansen finally dropped on Tuesday, and it’s the first chance many will have to experience the Broadway hit about the pain of coming of age in those awkward teenage years.
Unfortunately a big portion of the audience couldn’t focus on the moving musical moments — because they couldn’t get past the star’s age!
Ben Platt is a genuine phenom, originating the title role at the age of just 22, ultimately winning the Tony after the production moved up to Broadway. Unfortunately that was in 2015. The singer is now 27 and, according to quite a few viewers, WAY too old to be playing a high schooler.
Here are just a few of the reactions on Twitter:
Yeah, there’s a lot of that.
And yes, Ben saw it. On Wednesday he tweeted — and then deleted — a response to the trailer’s reception, including all the age comments:
“thank u from the bottom of my for the outpouring of trailer love yesterday. the film required me to revisit areas of personal pain, so seeing ppl excited & moved makes it so deeply worth it. PS to the randos being jerks about age, read this great article and/or watch grease“
Is Grease the best example of why this would work? That film is a classic, to be sure, but it’s become infamous in recent years for the cast all looking WAY TOO OLD to be in school. It’s kind of a punchline at this point.
The other issue, of course, is that it was the entire cast who was too old in Grease. It evened things out. Just imagine, if Rizzo actually looked 17, Kenickie would look like a real creep. Well, more of a creep.
The article Platt linked to is an interview in Vanity Fair in which he more directly addresses the age issue. He told the mag the studio was aware and had been scrambling to get the big screen adaptation done before he got too old:
“I think everybody obviously had in their minds that I wasn’t going to stay teen-adjacent forever. The need to get it done was a little urgent. Then of course the pandemic happened, and I kind of assumed that was that — it would be a no-go, and by the time the pandemic was over, I’d have outgrown it.”
Even he thought he was too old? Then why not recast? Director Stephen Chbosky, who also helmed the adaptation of The Perks of Being A Wallflower, was adamant it had to be Platt in the starring role, age or no:
“You just have to hear him sing the songs. His understanding of the character is so complete and so profound. I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing it. It’s his part. I felt very strongly about it. And to me it was never even a consideration.”
We’re sure it probably made no difference that the producer of the film is Ben’s father, Marc Platt…
As to his appearance, Ben explained he grew his hair out and “was shaving to make sure that I didn’t look like I had five o’clock shadow all the time” to try to pass for a high schooler:
“I was just stripping myself into being a teenager for the last time. For what is hopefully the last time.”
What do YOU think? Should they have recast the role? Or is it too important to the show that they have the original actor??
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