After the new “Dear Evan Hansen” trailer dropped for the anticipated adaption of the Broadway smash hit, reactions were mixed. Many users jumped to Twitter to complain. They were concerned with how the now 27-year-old Ben Platt did not resemble the high school teenager Evan Hansen.
For those of you who are fortunate enough to not have to hear theatre majors singing the soundtrack across the cafeteria (if you did, I would like to formally apologize for my actions), you may or may not be familiar with the Broadway show. The musical follows an anxious high school teenager. After a fellow student commits suicide, he finds himself diving deeper and deeper into a living lie.
Importantly, Platt originated the role on Broadway, winning himself a Tony. The musical won six Tony awards including Best Musical. Because he originated the role, Platt’s voice is also what dominates the soundtrack that people listen to.
But many years later, now looking older, some fans are concerned he has outgrown the part. Twitter erupted with memes, jokes, and criticism over the casting choice.
But now, Ben Platt himself has responded. Platt called out the “randos being jerks about age” in a tweet he has since deleted. He also referred to this Vanity Fair article. In the article, he explains many of the decisions that went behind his casting, and the concern about age. He also references “Grease,” where many actors playing high schoolers looked much older than the ages they were playing.
“I think everybody obviously had in their minds that I wasn’t going to stay teen-adjacent forever,” Platt said in the article. “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.”
He also said he hopes he will be done playing high schoolers: “I’d lost about 15 pounds and did a very specific diet, grew my hair out, and was shaving to make sure that I didn’t look like I had five o’clock shadow all the time, you know. I was just stripping myself into being a teenager for the last time. For what is hopefully the last time.”
For many of us fans—myself included—the chance to see Ben Platt play the role he brought to life in the first place is enough for me to suspend my disbelief about his age. Yes, the hairstyle they went with to make him look younger is puzzling. But after listening to the soundtrack so many times and hearing Platt’s voice, the ability to see him fully embody the character will be a rare treat.
More conventional Hollywood actors fill the rest of the main cast, not “Dear Evan Hansen” alums. Julianne Moore will play his mom, Kaitlyn Dever will play Zoe Murphy, with Amy Adams and Danny Pino playing her parents.
The film will release September 24, 2021.