Alexandra Shipp and Robin de Jesús spoke with Solzy at the Movies earlier this week about the new Netflix film, tick, tick…BOOM!
Netflix starts streaming the Lin-Manuel Miranda-directed film on November 19, 2021.
How familiar were you with tick, tick…BOOM! when you got the script?
Robin de Jesús: I had seen it in a production of the stage version that Lin-Manuel, Leslie Odom and Karen Olivo did in 2014 so I knew this show well because of that and because I listened to that album often. I’ve done songs from it from it for benefits but I didn’t really take it in the way I did when I read the script. For whatever reason, when I read this script, it landed very differently in a good way.
Alexandra Shipp: I knew about Jonathan Larson from Rent but I had never seen the stage performance of tick, tick…BOOM! So when I got the audition—YouTube is a really good source.
Robin de Jesús: For real!
Alexandra Shipp: I was able to see a lot of good performances on YouTube and really kind of understand. And then once I read the script, it made that much more sense to me. But I’m remiss to say that I didn’t get to see it on stage and I hope I do get to see it soon because I think that would just be really, really cool.
Robin de Jesús: Revival coming, I’m sure.
Alexandra Shipp: Yes, oh, yeah, it has to.
Robin, you and Lin-Manuel Miranda go way back. How different was it to be working on a film compared to a Broadway production?
Robin de Jesús: I guess the difference is now Lin—being in the director position, there’s even more interaction and even more discussion of character and going through together. He and I, we love table work so we just love—Andrew does as well so the three of us would get together and just rummage for things in the scene and that was that was really, really fun. But the thing about working with Lin now that was so cool was watching my friend be brilliant, who’s already brilliant and we know that in all these other areas. But then like looking at that like, you have space for more growth, like the audacity of that—
Alexandra Shipp: So unfair.
Robin de Jesús: But also like, how cool you’re my friend. (Laughs) We’re such nerds. But it’s totally like that. Not only are you my friend, you chose to include me in all of the fun, cool stuff that you get to do with all of these incredible people.
How special was it to work on this film at the same time when Broadway was shut down across the board last year?
Alexandra Shipp: It felt really special that we were able to utilize a lot of these closed down theaters as spaces to not only house talent but also to shoot in. There were some spaces that weren’t available before COVID and then after our world shut down, they became available and we were able to use them. Real spaces that Jonathan actually put on his previews
Robin de Jesús: New York Theatre Workshop would have been—
Alexandra Shipp: Yes, yes, and really being able to give back to a community that’s given so much to us.
Robin de Jesús: It was also really cool—I don’t want to say cool because that sounds like romanticizing it. But it was—we felt fortunate that in a world where so many of our friends could not work and were struggling financially, that we still got to be expressive. We still got to be creative. We still got that good, good paycheck. There was a lot of privilege and going back and with all the COVID protocols, it could feel very daunting and overwhelming. But you also have the perspective of like, well, guess what? You’re experiencing that because you’re privileged.
Alexandra Shipp: Yeah.
Favorite musical of all time?
Robin de Jesús: Caroline, or Change.
Alexandra Shipp: Jesus Christ Superstar.
Robin de Jesús: Oh, love that one!
Alexandra Shipp: Jesus—
Robin, did you have a chance to meet Matt before you went into production?
Robin de Jesús: I didn’t meet Matt until last week. It’s funny because I did want to meet Matt. There was a hesitancy about that but I didn’t know what it was. I realized when I met Matt last week, my mental health was not in the greatest shape at the start of the film. I realized that I think had I met him, I don’t know that my psyche could have handled it. I think that way and where I was in terms of my personal sensitivity and growth was like it was what it needed to be. It actually does feel really right and seeing him now, we switched numbers. We’re gonna go have lunch and stuff. (inaudible)
Alexandra Shipp: I gagged. Oh, that’s so cool! (inaudible)
Netflix starts streaming tick, tick…BOOM! on November 19, 2021.
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