Just a few months after Ben Platt came under fire for being cast in the upcoming Dear Evan Hansen movie, the actor has responded. For those who missed it, Platt (who is 27 years old) received backlash for playing a high schooler when the trailer for the film came out earlier this year. Fans also pointed out at the time that his dad, Marc Platt, is the one producing the new flick, and wondered if that was the reason he was cast as the troubled high school student. But now, Platt has addressed the haters once and for all, and he said he “created the role.”
“People like to have something to say that is negative, regardless of what it is. And so if my thing is something that I can’t control at all — which is my age — then bring it on. I’m glad it’s not about the performance or my voice or anything that actually matters,” he said in a new interview. “I think the reaction is largely from people who don’t understand the context of the piece — the fact that I created the role and workshopped it for three years. Were I not to do the movie, it probably wouldn’t get made. And so, I think, my defensive response is to want to go onto Twitter and be like, ‘F you, guys. You don’t even know that this wouldn’t exist without me.’ Of course, that’s not true entirely and not my place to say. All I have to do is let the work speak for itself.”
What Has Ben Platt Previously Said About It?
The movie — which is set to come out on September 24, 2021 — is based off of the hit Broadway play of the same name. It’s about a young boy who doesn’t fit in at school due to a social anxiety disorder. But when one of his fellow students, a boy named Connor, tragically takes his own life, it leads to a journey of self-discovery and acceptance. It first opened on Broadway back in 2016 and quickly swept the nation. Platt originated the role of Evan Hansen — playing him for years before it made it to Broadway and then stepping out on stage almost every night for the first year that it was on Broadway. The show went on to win six Tony Awards, and Platt even took home the award for best actor for the role.
It turns out, this isn’t the first time that the star has addressed backlash over the role. When the trailer first came out in May 2021, he took to Twitter to defend himself, and he called the haters “jerks.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my [heart] for the outpouring of trailer love yesterday,” he wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “The film required me to revisit areas of personal pain, so seeing people excited and moved makes it so deeply worth it. P.S. to the randos being jerks about age, read this great article and/or watch Grease.”
He also included a link to an interview he did with Vanity Fair, where he explained why he felt it was important for him to revisit the role, despite being much older. Plus, the director, Stephen Chbosky, also defended his choice in casting Platt in the movie, explaining that he “couldn’t imagine anyone else playing him.”
“You just have to hear him sing the songs,” he told the outlet. “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.”
What Was The Fans’ Reaction To His New Comments?
Unfortunately, most people are still not happy with Platt, and they took to Twitter to share their feelings on his new comments.
“Saying, ‘This movie wouldn’t have been made without me,’ is not the way to respond to criticism whether it’s true or not. It not only makes you sound like a delusional, egotistical jerk, but also leaves a really bad taste in people’s mouths because it gives ‘I’m the only one who can play this role properly’ energy,” one person wrote. “Which… judging by the fact [that] DEH is still running successfully on Broadway without you, is entirely untrue. An actual teenager played the same role as you and did just as well (if not better).”
Another Twitter user added, “OMG Ben Platt is so embarrassing. Is his PR team on vacation?”
A third person tweeted, “If you don’t think Ben Platt’s casting in the Dear Evan Hansen movie has at least something to do with nepotism, here’s your reminder that everybody in the [original Broadway cast] of The Prom had to audition for the roles they originated and none of them got cast.”
What Else Do We Know About The Movie?
Besides Platt, the upcoming movie adaptation of the acclaimed musical will also star Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams and more. But how will it differ from the play, you ask? Well, according to Platt, the film will have a few new songs and get this — it will apparently dive way deeper into Evan’s lie. As fans of the play know, after Connor took his own life, his parents found what they thought to be a letter he wrote to Evan, but in reality, it was a letter Evan had written to himself. He goes along with it and pretends that he was Connor’s friend.
“I think the main change, other than the fact that there are two new songs, is a kind of extended third act of the film in which we get to see a little bit more of Evan’s repentance and redemption and the work that he does subsequently to make amends and really get to know who Connor was and try to help the family heal,” Platt explained.