After it was announced that Lin-Manuel Miranda was a 2015 MacArthur Fellow about a week ago, I joked (although not really) on Twitter that it was only a matter of time before film adaptation rights to his Broadway mega-hit musical, “Hamilton,” were picked up by some Hollywood studio or producer looking to capitalize on the show’s success. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that a *hot* property – whether stage, novel, comic book, TV, web series, even Twitter account – have become big screen material.
Today’s news isn’t of a film adaptation of the the hip-hop musical otherwise known as “Hamilton,” but a filmed version of the show, which, assuming it happens, would likely play in theaters across the country, for those who aren’t in New York City to catch a performance of the hottest ticket in town, live on Broadway.
“You-couldn’t-make-it-up filmmakers have been coming to the show,” Miranda said, during a public conversation at the New Yorker Festival over the weekend, courtesy of our friends at Vulture. He added that he wants “Hamilton” to be filmed with its current cast by the end of this year.
“I have talked to producers about filming this cast before this cast moves on,” Miranda said, but the production team hasn’t settled on how it will be filmed and presented.
As noted, filmed stage productions seem to have grown in popularity in recent years (as Spike Lee did for “Passing Strange” for example), as more and more theaters/producers all around the world, see the potential financial gain that comes with making filmed versions of their productions available in a movie theatrical setting, massively expanding reach, even though the essence of seeing a show live in person, is lost in the process. But it allows fans of the theatre access to shows of interest that they aren’t able to see otherwise, either because of distance or cost, or something else.
All that said, I still wouldn’t be surprised if some Hollywood studio chief, or producer who has seen the show, is impressed with it, and is aware of its popularity, isn’t already thinking about how it would transfer to film. And while Miranda doesn’t say, it also wouldn’t be a shocker if he’s fielding offers in that regard.
During the New Yorker Festival chat, Miranda also talked about a “Hamilton” mixtape, which, he said, would feature a rap battle about slavery.
“It was enormously cathartic to write because you write about these men who wrote great things but also had this other legacy lived within the system that was horrible and abusive,” he said. “It just brought the show to a screeching halt.”
Inspired by the biography of one of the “founding fathers” of the United States, Alexander Hamilton (by Ron Chernow), the musical premiered Off-Broadway in February 2015 and then transferred to Broadway in August 2015.