Disney fans and Hamilton lovers received an early present when Lin Manuel-Miranda announced that Disney+ plans to stream the movie 15 months earlier than expected, and this summer. The Hamilton movie won’t be an on-screen adaptation, like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s other hit musical In The Heights. Instead it will be a recording of the Broadway stage production. It’s a great time to be a theater geek.
Hamilton is the global smash hit that stars Lin-Manuel Miranda as founding father Alexander Hamilton. It tells the life and history of Hamilton, while exploring layers of this complex individual--all unfolding through hip hop songs. Since it’s 2015 release, Hamilton has grossed over $600 million to date, and added another $75 million when Disney won the bidding war to acquire the rights to stream and distribute the Hamilton movie.
Hamilton has been a massive success since its initial run, winning 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy, and a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. With such an impressive resume, it’s no wonder Disney couldn’t wait to bring the musical to their streaming service. Before Hamilton takes over my weekend--since I’m definitely going to watch it a few dozen times once it hits Disney+--here are a few quick facts to know about the upcoming Hamilton movie production.
When Hamilton Will Be Streaming On Disney+
Hamilton will stream on Disney+ on July 3, 2020, just in time for the July 4th weekend. News that the Broadway production came as a surprise to many fans, considering we originally thought we'd have to wait until late 2021 to see it. Which brings us to our next point...
Hamilton Was Supposed To Be Released In Theaters In 2021
In February, Disney won the bidding wars for the rights to release Hamilton in theaters. It was scheduled for an October 15, 2021 release in the United States and Canada. It was then scheduled to premiere on Disney+, but no date was ever confirmed for the original Disney+ release. Some speculated that it might be released in early 2022 on the house of mouse streaming service.
When The Taped Hamilton Production Was Filmed
Hamilton was filmed in June 2016, two weeks prior to the original cast leaving their respective roles. It was filmed over the course of three performances. Hamilton was shot on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City.
It Could Be Close To Three Hours Long
According to Deadline, the Hamilton film is supposed to have a 2 hours and 40 minutes runtime. This information came out when the news of Disney's acquisition of the production was originally announced. It seems likely this is an accurate runtime, considering the Broadway production typically runs around two hours and fifty-five minutes, including intermission.
Who's Starring In The Taped Hamilton Production
Most of the original Hamilton cast will appear in the taped production. The list includes:
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton
Daveed Diggs (The Snowpiercer series) as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson
Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler
Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr
Christopher Jackson as George Washington
Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter and Frozen II) as King George
Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton
Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds
Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison
Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton
The cast also includes performances by Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana DeBose, Hope Easterbrook, Sydney James Harcourt, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Elizabeth Judd, Jon Rua, Austin Smith, Seth Stewart and Ephraim Sykes.
There Will Be Close-Ups And Possibly Audience Shots
Hamilton’s taped production will be a little different from many movie theatrical performances. It was directed by Tommy Kail, who also directed the original production, and it may include some shots of the audience.
When news of the theatrical released was announced, Tommy Kail had this to say about his filmed production:
We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like on stage – and in the audience – when we shot this at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016. We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.
In 2019, Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr also shared some of the details about the upcoming film when he appeared on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live. He said that he hadn’t seen it yet, but they got in really “tight and close” with filming the production. He also said that from those who saw it, they said that it was really beautiful and well done.
A Few Things We Don't Know:
There are a lot of things that we do know about the staged version of Hamilton, but there are still a few questions that we have about the upcoming film.
Will Disney+ Censor The F-Bombs?
The stage version of Hamilton included some language that might not be family friendly. We don’t know if Disney will keep the f-bombs or censor the film to make it more suitable for all ages. We also don’t know if they might make two versions available for families and one with original uncensored content.
What's It Going to Look Like?
Based on the trailer Disney+ released, it looks like it's going to look pretty fantastic, with different angles and close-ups of the performance. Check it out below:
What Will It Sound Like?
We don’t know how the sound editing, mixing, and quality of the sound will turn out in the film. It could be a crisp sound--almost as good as a original soundtrack, or sound more like a live Broadway production, with audience laughs and all.
Will It Include Exclusive Content Or Behind-The-Scene Footage?
We don’t know if Disney will have an exclusive behind the scenes movie to accompany the staged Hamilton film. If they do add this additional film, we don’t know if it will include interviews with the original cast or insight into Lin Manuel-Miranda’s process for developing the musical.
Disney+’s staged Hamilton performance movie is one of the most anticipated movies of 2020. Partly because this is a very uncertain year for movies, but mainly because Hamilton is an exciting show that many have wanted to see for years, but due to one thing or another, they weren’t able to go see it. Now Disney is bringing a little bit of film magic back to the home with this exciting release. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it all turns out.