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Dear Evan Hansen’s Amandla Stenberg On Bringing A New Song To The Movie

Alana speaking to Evan

The movie industry is finally getting back to normal, with a number of highly anticipated projects finally hitting theaters. This year has already seen a number of musical adaptations on the big screen, the most recent being Stephen Chbosky’s Dear Evan Hansen. And actress Amandla Stenberg recently opened up about bringing a new song to the movie version.

When traveling from stage to screen, most movie musicals end up making a number of changes. Dear Evan Hansen is no exception, with certain songs cut while others are premiering for the first time. The Hate U Give’s Amandla Stenberg is playing the character Alana Beck, and sings the new track “The Anonymous Ones.” As you can see in the above video, I had the privilege of speaking with Beck about her role in Dear Evan Hansen ahead of its release. She opened up about the process of crafting Alana’s song, saying:

I mean, it was such a privilege. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are just legendary songwriters. And through the process of writing the song I was like ‘Wait, why do you guys want me here again?’ But they were so encouraging and open and, like, really believed in me as a songwriter even though I haven’t even released that much music.

Talk about pressure. On top of performing a new song in Dear Evan Hansen, Amandla Stenberg also helped Pasek & Paul write “The Anonymous Ones.” Luckily she felt supported by the pair of Oscar-winning songwriters. And fans only have to wait a few more days to see and hear the new track in all of its glory. And with a resume including The Greatest Showman and La La Land, Pasek & Paul have already gotten quite the reputation.

Those hardcore musical fans can actually stream “The Anonymous Ones” now, as the folks behind Dear Evan Hansen have released a handful of tracks from the movie’s soundtrack. In our same conversation, Amandla Stenberg specifically mentioned the Dear Evan Hansen fans out there. She explained the pressure that comes with breaking new ground for Alana, saying:

I was for sure nervous because of course this is such a beloved Broadway musical. And there’s been so many incredible actresses who have played Alana. I want the fans, the diehard fans to be happy. And our interpretation of Alana for the film I think is a little bit different. But we have an opportunity to re-explore her more deeply because we have more time to get to know her. So that’s exciting.

The Dear Evan Hansen movie expanding the role of Alana is just one way that Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation will manage to stand apart from the stage production. Any new songs would be eligible for film awards, so tracks like “The Anonymous Ones” are doubly important. Only time will tell how audiences respond to the movie musical.

Dear Evan Hansen will arrive in theaters on September 24th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.