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If I’m Going To Have To See a Dear Evan Hansen Movie, at Least I’ll Have Amy Adams

Amy Adams in Arrival looking exhausted.

Dear Evan Hansen is not a great show. Not in the sense that the show itself is bad, it’s not. It’s just that Evan Hansen is…not the kind of character many should instantly rally behind. The winner for Best Musical at the Tony Awards, it’s an interesting look at mental health, social media, and the power and destruction that both can have.

And now, they’re making it into a movie which both infuriates me but also makes me hope that more original musicals can have the same transition. It’s a weird balance for me as a fan of Broadway but the main point being that I don’t want a million think pieces on why we should feel bad for Evan Hansen, a kid who lied about someone who died by suicide for his own personal social benefit.

So…I’m not exactly excited about this movie but then they turned around and added Amy Adams to the movie and now I’m going to begrudgingly see it. While Amy Adams isn’t playing a big role, she is a welcome addition to this cast and one that…now makes me want to see it.

Look, I’ve never wanted to see Dear Evan Hansen because of the more problematic aspects of this musical but I do know quite a lot about it because I am a theatre kid and it’s…just in our nature. Amy Adams is playing Cynthia Murphy, mother of the characters Connor and Zoe Murphy. Cynthia loses her son and her daughter, Zoe, struggles but gets closer to Evan Hansen (as he gets close to Connor’s entire family) but she doesn’t have too much to do in the show.

To be honest, I instantly thought that Adams would be playing Heidi Hansen, Evan’s mother, instead. What I hope this means though is that there are changes coming to the musical. We already know there’s going to be at least one new song (which will put it into contention for an Oscar in the category) and an expanded role for Alana, Evan’s classmate, who will be played by Amandla Stenberg.

Maybe the aspects of this show that aren’t…ideal will start to shift and maybe those think pieces I fear about Evan will be worthy because his story is, at its core, one about struggles with mental health in this complicated and very online world. But it also doesn’t do the best job of explaining why Evan was still incredibly wrong in what he does.

Not to spoil much about the show, there is just a lot of lying and deceit surrounding Evan’s suddenly push in popularity and it isn’t exactly something we should be praising in any way. Evan’s mental health is an important aspect of this show and one that I just personally think is messily handled in the context of it and it’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been too keen on seeing it. I’ve heard enough that made me very wary.

What I do hope is that with a cast this impressive (with Ben Platt reprising his role as Evan and Kaitlyn Dever and Amandla Stenberg joining the cast), the parts of this show that make me apprehensive will be re-evaluated in a film format. But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see Amy Adams tackle another musical on screen. (Yes, I’m referring to Enchanted.)

So .. .congratulations, Hollywood, you have somehow made me excited about Dear Evan Hansen and I can’t wait to see who is playing Heidi Hansen and how the musical adapts from stage to screen.

(via Variety, image: Paramount)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.