Lin-Manuel Miranda's Directorial Film Debut 'Tick, Tick... Boom!' Will Be About An Unforgettable Broadway Legend

ByBrad Witter

He's already mastered the stage, but now that Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda is making his directorial film debut with Tick, Tick…Boom!, his dynamite talents are sure to explode onto the big screen. As reported by Deadline on Thursday, July 19, Miranda will helm the upcoming movie adaptation of late famed Rent playwright Jonathan Larson's autobiographical musical, thus paying homage to a man who inspired his successful career on The Great White Way.

Tick, Tick…Boom! first entered my life in college when I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the Jane Street Theater in 2001,” Miranda said in a statement, according to Deadline. “Jonathan Larson’s captivating storytelling in Rent first taught me that musicals could be contemporary, true to life, and depict your own experiences. But it was Tick, Tick…Boom! that solidified that drive in me to hone my own voice as a playwright."

Miranda also added some acting experience to his resume when he starred in a 2014 Off-Broadway production of Larson's 1990-set musical. In the role of New York City waiter — and aspiring theater composer — Jon, he told Larson's story of his struggles to write what he hoped would be the next great American musical. Sound familiar? Miranda elaborated on the experience in his statement to Deadline:

"On stage, playing the role of Jon in 2014 was one of my most honored achievements. To now have the opportunity to make my film directorial debut, in collaboration with the Larson Family and this incredible creative team, and to adapt a work I love so deeply, is a humbling privilege. Together, we aim to honor Jonathan’s legacy and continue to position his work to inspire the next generation of storytellers.”

Teasing the announcement of his directorial debut, Miranda played a few chords from "30/90" on the piano, and tweeted a 9-second video of the Tick, Tick…Boom! song along with the lyric "Stop the clock..." on July 19. After Deadline broke the news, he also tweeted a link to the article shortly afterward and included another "30/90" lyric: "Freeze the frame..."

The same day, Ron Howard, who is set to co-produce the film with Miranda, Brian Grazer, and Julie Oh, noted the Hamilton playwright's enthusiasm in his own tweet, which included a photo of the pair and the caption, "exciting to feel the energy @Lin_Manuel is already bringing to #TickTickBoom." (Larson’s sister Julie will also act as an executive producer.)

After all, Miranda has been keeping the project, which will be written by Broadways' Dear Evan Hansen scribe Steven Levenson, a secret for quite some time, he revealed in another tweet. Sharing a photo posted by the Library of Congress in October 2017, Miranda wrote, "Yeah so remember this? This was ACTUALLY [Levenson,] [historian consultant Jennifer Tepper] & me in the Larson archives, doing research for #TickTickBoom..."

Larson died unexpectedly in 1996 on the same day his magnum opus, the groundbreaking rock musical Rent, which earned him three posthumous Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, began its first Off-Broadway preview performance. In a statement to Deadline, the Larson estate expressed their support for the project:

“Our family is honored that Lin-Manuel Miranda will launch his directorial career interpreting Jonathan’s most personal work. Lin-Manuel and Steven both have a deep understanding of the piece, and we are so excited to see their vision realized. We hope that Jonathan’s story will resonate with a whole new generation of artists.”

While the 11-time Tony-winning Hamilton may get the movie treatment sometime in the distant future, this isn't the only Hollywood project Miranda has in the works. Aside from appearing in Disney's Mary Poppins Returns later this year, his 2008 Broadway musical In the Heights (another Tony winner) landed at Warner Bros. in May after previously being sold to the now-bankrupt Weinstein Company. Miranda will co-produce the film based on the musical set in his native Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Miranda has become a powerhouse on Broadway and beyond in his own right, but as he moves into the world of directing films with Tick, Tick…Boom!, there doesn't seem to be a better fit than an ode to a legend that inspired his own storied career.