Tick, Tick Boom! Filming Details, COVID Struggles Revealed by Vanessa Hudgens

While Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical In the Heights has finally come to the big screen, the Hamilton creator has yet another project hitting screens later this year. Miranda's directorial debut tick, tick… BOOM! is poised to be released in select theaters and on Netflix this fall, with Andrew Garfield fronting a wildly talented ensemble for a tremendously emotional adaptation. The film is based on the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson and tells the story of an aspiring composer living in New York City in 1990 who grapples with his career choice. Larson performed the work as a solo piece, but it was revived and revamped after his death and debuted Off-Broadway in 2001. Larson, of course, went on to write the hit musical Rent but tragically died the day before that show’s first preview performance.

Miranda, having been a young and ambitious composer and writer himself, sparked to tick, tick… BOOM! so strongly that he decided to direct the adaptation himself. Garfield plays the lead character, and the terrific ensemble cast is filled out by the likes of Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, MJ Rodriguez, and Vanessa Hudgens.

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So with tick, tick… BOOM! being one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub spoke with Hudgens and Shipp at the Tribeca Film Festival about their new film Asking for It, he asked about the experience of making the tick, tick… BOOM! movie. Hudgens revealed that they were only a couple of days into filming when the pandemic hit and they had to shut down:

“We started right before COVID. We were in rehearsals every day, dancing, singing, just being put through the whole musical theater works – which we both love. We love it. We live for that. That’s like playtime. And then we started principal photography and I think got only a couple days in and had to shut down the entire thing. And then we picked it back up in September, and we had to go back into rehearsals because it had been months, but we picked it up there.”

Hudgens continued, explaining that COVID made the experience of shooting a movie musical difficult, but Miranda’s passion and joy served as a beacon throughout the production:

“It was challenging because of COVID. It was the first production we had done since the lockdown. Rules were very restrictive for cast and crew, for everyone involved, but it kind of made everyone have to go the extra mile in order to be there. But Lin being the shining light that he is brought such an energy of joy and playfulness and just excitement, because he loves Jonathan Larson and he loves Tick, Tick Boom and he’s been dreaming about this as long as he can remember. So the fact that he got to do it, that radiates. That’s a whole other energy. And for us to be there with him – we all have our own connections I think with Jonathan Larson, and it just felt like there were moments of magic, and he’s a big reason why that was.”

Shipp seconded Miranda’s “childlike energy of excitement” and added that because of COVID restrictions, they were not allowed to sing unless the cameras were rolling. Which, for a bunch of musical theater nerds, was extremely difficult.

But Hudgens concluded by saying that they’re incredibly proud of the work they did and can’t wait for people to see the film:

“It was sad because we were a bunch of theater nerds, if we could have been filming not during COVID, oh my gosh the stuff that would’ve been happening in between takes and setups. But we couldn’t explore that because we weren’t allowed to sing unless the cameras were rolling. But we made the best of it and we’re so proud and excited because it’s a really special film.”

Look for our full interview for Asking for It on Collider soon. tick, tick… BOOM! will be released by Netflix this fall.

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Adam Chitwood (15946 Articles Published)

Adam Chitwood is the Managing Editor for Collider. He's been working for Collider for over a decade, and in addition to managing content also runs point on crafts interviews, awards coverage, and co-hosts The Collider Podcast with Matt Goldberg (which has been running since 2012). He's the creator and author of Collider's "How the MCU Was Made" series and has interviewed Bill Hader about every single episode of Barry. He lives in Tulsa, OK and likes pasta, 90s thrillers, and spending like 95% of his time with his dog Luna.

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