Vanessa Hudgens Reveals Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Even 'Adorable' On Set During A Pandemic

Ah, the beloved Mr. Lin-Manuel Miranda, can we sing his high praises at any octave higher? It’s been five years since the Hamilton playwright soared to new heights with the opening of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. Since then, the multi-talent has gone on to star in Mary Poppins Returns, write the music for Disney’s Moana and this year he was on set filming his feature directorial debut for Tick, Tick… Boom! – set to star Andrew Garfield, Jordan Fisher, Alexandra Shipp and Vanessa Hudgens.

Vanessa Hudgens recently wrapped her work on Tick, Tick… Boom, just in time to speak with CinemaBlend about her experience working on the musical alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda. In between speaking with Hudgens for her new Netflix holiday film The Princess Switch: Switched Again I asked the actress what Miranda was like as a director and hearing her talk about how he made the experience a better one is delightful.

He’s everything that you want him to be and more. You know it’s wild trying to film a movie during a global pandemic. The precautions are really serious. Everyone is wearing a mask and face shield at all times and it’s really hard to interact and connect the way you used to be able to, but not one moment did that get Lin down. He walks onto set and he’s doing his step routine, which he would always do and it was the most adorable thing ever. He’d jump and click his heels. He was just so happy and his joy was so exuberant that it really just bled out into all of us and just made the experience all the more beautiful.

I can just picture Lin-Manuel Miranda clicking his heels together in between takes. The man is a gem. (I mean of course he was!) As Vanessa Hudgens also explained to us, it wasn't easy making a movie under the guidelines set off by the pandemic. With the physical distance the cast must maintain, there’s also been a feeling of disconnect on set. Luckily, she got to work under Miranda, who’s energy apparently was not brought down by the circumstances.

Tick, Tick… Boom is based on a semi-autobiographical Broadway musical of the same name about Jonathan Larson, the playwright who wrote the beloved modern musical, Rent. The Amazing Spider-Man’s Andrew Garfield will play Larson and Vanessa Hudgens will play Karessa, who befriends him midway through the musical. The movie originally began filming in March before the COVID-19 lockdown shut them down. It resumed production in the fall and continues to be ongoing, though Hudgens recently finished up her own work on Tick, Tick… Boom.

Vanessa Hudgens commemorated her work on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s project early this week with a tattoo reading “Cages or Wings” in cursive letters in reference to the musical’s song “Louder Than Words.” Tick, Tick… Boom also finds a connection with Hudgens since the actress starred in Fox’s live production of Rent last year. Check out her tattoo.

A photo posted by on

Tick, Tick… Boom, written by Dear Evan Hansen’s playwright Steven Levenson was acquired by Netflix and will premiere on the streaming service (perhaps with awards potential?) as soon as next year. Before then, the Disney+ release of Hamilton is topping 2020 streaming records and Vanessa Hudgens’ latest Netflix movie (following last year’s The Knight Before Christmas), Princess Switch: Switched Again is coming to the streaming service on November 19.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.