Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much anticipated directorial debut “tick, tick … BOOM!” is timed to detonate Nov. 10 as the Netflix film opens the 35th edition of AFI Fest with a screening at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre.
The festival, scheduled for Nov. 10-14, is being billed as a hybrid one with both in-person screenings and events as well as virtual offerings. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, AFI Fest will require that anyone who attends in-person gatherings is fully vaccinated.
Miranda directs “tick, tick … BOOM!” from a screenplay by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson based on the autobiographical musical from “Rent” playwright Jonathan Larson. It stars Andrew Garfield alongside Alexandra Shipp, revered Broadway actors Robin de Jesús and Joshua Henry, Bradley Whitford and Vanessa Hudgens.
The film follows Garfield’s Jon, a young theater composer living in New York City in the 1990s. While waiting tables, he writes what he hopes will be the next great American musical. Days before a showcase, Jon feels the pressure from everywhere — from girlfriend Susan, who dreams of an artistic life beyond the city; from friend Michael, who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security; and from a community ravaged by the AIDS epidemic.
The film will explore how Jon ponders over his time left on Earth whilst rediscovering the passions that initially brought him to the Big Apple.
“AFI Fest will remind the world [of] the power of this art form to lift our spirits at a time we need it most,” said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale in a statement. “Opening with the imperative voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda and celebrating the joy that Julie Andrews has provided generations will set our sights on a brighter day — just like in the movies.”
The AFI Fest debut comes slightly ahead of the film’s release as it’s scheduled to hit select theaters on Nov. 12 before streaming on Netflix as of Nov. 19.