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Rent: Live was not actually able to air “live” after star Brennin Hunt broke his foot. The actor and singer, who played Roger in Fox’s rendition of the beloved Broadway musical, is now speaking out about what happened. In fact, he seems to be finding the silver lining in his broken foot, saying:
What happened last night would not have happened if my foot had not been broken, and what happened last night was beautiful. It was the essence of Rent and I’m trying to stay as positive as possible and know maybe my foot broke for a reason.
Look: that is how you stay positive. Brennin Hunt stuck to the bright side during an interview with Variety. He went on to explain that he broke his foot during the dress rehearsal the night before the live broadcast was set to air. Hunt was rushing down the steps for his quick change for the finale when the awful moment occurred.
The injury led to Fox having to use some the pre-taped footage recorded during the previous night for the broadcast. While most of the footage viewers saw did not unravel live, the finale was an exception. That included Brennin Hunt’s crushing performance of “Your Eyes” and the ensemble’s rendition of “Seasons of Love.”
Thank goodness for those pre-taped segments, which captured the cast’s performances. Otherwise, all might have been lost. Had Rent: Live kept to the tradition of understudies, viewers would have missed out on Brennin Hunt’s performance entirely. That's yet another silver lining to what turned out to be an unfortunate turn of events.
In spite of seeing the version that was taped in front of a live studio audience, some viewers have not been happy, many taking umbrage with Rent: Live not being, well, live.
The musical’s production designer, Jason Sherwood, explained to CinemaBlend why the show could not be restaged to account for Brennin Hunt’s injury. Thus, airing live. He cited the limited time between the injury and the live broadcast as the reason for using taped moments. There just wasn't time for the appropriate alterations to be made possible.
Jason Sherwood added that Hunt’s pain level would have also impacted his ability to perform for as long as would have been necessary. To its major credit, Rent: Live was able to re-work things enough to include Brennin Hunt’s Roger in the finale. Still, due to the nature of his injury, Brennin Hunt could not put any weight on his foot. Leading Rent: Live to have Hunt rest on a table.
Based on what Brennin Hunt said in his interview, it seems he feels that if his foot had not been broken things would have been different and obviously Rent: Live would not have unraveled on-air as it did. But hindsight's 20/20.
It is heartening that Brennin Hunt is remaining so upbeat in the face of the adversity. It has to be incredibly trying for Hunt and the rest of the cast and crew of Rent: Live. Sadly, life happens.
How and if what happened with Brennin Hunt could impact future live network musicals and prep for similar events remains to be seen. It all depends on how the network views the final result and viewers' reaction to it. Rent: Live is among many specials airing during the midseason.