Director Thomas Kail feels the “Hamilton” movie gained an “extra virtue” amid the COVID-19 disruption, and says it will remind people of the feeling of getting together to experience a story coming alive on the stage.
The film was scheduled to release in theatres in 2021, but as cinema halls continue to reel from the global shutdown due to the pandemic, Disney have decided to release the movie on a streaming platform.
“Disney was planning on coming out (with the film) 15 months later, (but when we decided to release now), (they) put all hands on deck with us and it just felt like an opportunity to lower the barrier to entry,” Kail said during a virtual press conference with select media, including IANS, before release Hamilton.
“In this moment, where not only are there no ‘Hamilton’s, but there are no live performances. There are no concerts. There’s no Broadway. There’s no regional theatre. The fact that this was something that captured what it felt like to be in a theatre in June of 2016, all of sudden became an extra virtue,” he added.
The director continued: “Because it’s a reminder of what it is like to sit in a room with a group of people, you’ve never met, and have that experience.”
It was in 2015 when “Hamilton” came to life and won hearts by narrating the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton with a blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway.
With exploration of the history of the US, the musical shared a glimpse of the present, going on to become an important cultural influence. During its successful run, it won several Tony Awards, a Grammy and the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
As a director of the filmed version of “Hamilton”, Kail wanted to honour the world created by Hollywood’s multi-hyphenate talent Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Looking back at the process of translating the musical, he said: “We shot the whole thing in three days from June 26 of 2016… The shows that we did with an audience did not stop. The cameras were positioned in the audience. The audience sat around them, and we just ran the show as we always did.
“We had six cameras with six camera operators, and then three fixed cameras for the Sunday and the Tuesday show… I wasn’t spending any of my time thinking about performance. My job was to capture. My job was about honouring,” he added.
The director, also known for his work on “Fosse/Verdon”, feels the task for him was to try to create a document of “what it felt like to be in that room” with the team.
“I think what we tried to do is embrace the love we have for being in the theatre and the love we have for the theatre, but also take some of the cinematic techniques and try to apply them to a form that I think the musical can support, and this company deserved it. My task was how do I honour this group and how do I try to create this experience so we can share it with as many people as possible,” he added.
Kail noted that he tried to preserve the work of the whole team in true sense.
“It was that simple. There’s something very unifying about that idea. The proximity that you gain in experiencing this in a cinematic way,” he added.
Filmed at The Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York in June of 2016, the multi-award winning stage musical, featuring the original Broadway cast, will release on Disney+ Hotstar Premium on July 3.