Lin-Manuel Miranda has waded into this summer’s looming SAG Awards, by including his first-ever feature film as a screenplay nominee – and he’s not holding back.
The Hamilton mastermind’s Hamilton is a past Best Musical winner as well as a member of the prestigious 10-title SAG list – but the soundtrack is already a smash hit, and he got behind the camera for “Tick, Tick, Boom!”, a co-production with Andy Muschietti, and Henry Bromell from an original Broadway script that he co-wrote with Michael Korie (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).
Going up against “Mary Poppins Returns” and “The Favourite” for Best Film Actor, he told NPR: “I never thought in a million years I’d write a screenplay, but it came about in an unusual way… it started out of real failure on my part.”
In a weird way, it was like Shakespeare’s “Exit the King” that his father was playing, when he was two or three years old, and it just got to him: if you’re reading the text and not following what’s happening, you’re not doing your job as a parent – not that I’m in any position to give parenting advice to anyone – and I just thought this might be a fitting way to end my family book.”
The film’s middle section charts Miranda’s journey to find an acting part for his dad, played by Andy Garcia. It pays homage to the musical, introducing the idea of “learnings” as a framework – like Hamilton – that’s how he tries to make sense of his attempt to follow his father’s direction as an actor, directed by his stepfather.
They’re all listed as co-writers on the film’s copyright, so you can presume this was something Miranda wrote at least partially for himself. But just because he’s written songs doesn’t mean he’s been writing book for Hollywood, and he’s pretty adamant about it in the NPR interview.
He says that “Chinatown” and “1984” are the only other movies he can think of that are as beautiful as “Tick, Tick, Boom!”, pointing out that he could only “imagine my imagination, what it might look like if I could write a book and imagined everybody reading it – it would be that kind of magical”.
Miranda might be best known for musicals and for writing the book for Disney’s Moana, but he says “Tick, Tick, Boom!” is about rejection, failure and “moving forward”.
“The reason it ended up on this list is because it did end up on my list,” he told The Washington Post. “And so we don’t have to explain why it’s on this list or why we’re happy about it. It’s just there, and I feel great about that.”