Watch Andrew Garfield and Lin-Manuel Miranda Break Down a 'Tick, Tick... Boom' Scene

'Tick, Tick... Boom' behind the scenes Credit: Netflix
How do you capture an artist's spirit? 

Did you watch Tick, Tick... Boom over the holiday? This musical is an excellent distillation of creative impulses, the artist's brain, and the fearless pursuit of your passions even when the world doesn't seem like it will embrace you back. 

I'm a big fan of the "Notes on a Scene," series that Vanity Fair puts out. In this episode, we see Andrew Garfield and Tick, Tick... Boom director Lin-Manuel Miranda break down the scene where the character of Jon (Garfield) gets the party started with an impromptu acapella performance of the song "Boho Days." 

Check out his video from Vanity Fair, and let's talk after the break. 

Watch Andrew Garfield & Lin-Manuel Miranda Break Down a Tick, Tick... Boom Scene

Videos like this are always really fun. I loved starting out with the funny tidbit that when Miranda was trying to cast this movie, he had no idea if Garfield could sing. So he consulted an expert, a massage therapist they share, whose endorsement led Miranda to cast Garfield. Talk about your inside Hollywood connections. 

But it wasn't that straightforward. Garfield read the script, and all the scene said was that his character was going to revive a part through an improvised acapella song. So that's it. Still, after meeting with Miranda, he gained the confidence to dive into the movie. That's what a good director does, instill confidence and support artists. 

Originally, this song is what opened Jonathan Larson's play, but they moved it here to show his energy and ability to rally his friends. The idea was to focus on the reality of who Larson was as a person, someone who would never let the party die. This reality became their guiding light within the scene. 

So outside of reality, what was the other thing that kept the scene moving? 

Spontaneity. 

Once they had an organic way in, Miranda and Garfield spent a lot of time choreographing the shots and edits to make the lyrics of the song feel like they were happening in a spontaneous way. Part of that was shooting in an epic oner, letting the actors improvise a little, and timing everything right. And they had to teach Garfield to sing, which seems like it went really well, because he's very good

As mentioned above, reality was also important to Miranda. They made sure that everything from the name checks in the song, to the Easter egg of having the neighbors be friends of Larson, to the painting on the wall being one from Larson's original apartment. Under the surface of the scene is a care and attention to detail that shows dedication to a story.  

What were some of your favorite parts of the video and movie?

Let us know in the comments.      

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