When the trailer for Dear Evan Hansen’s big-screen adaptation dropped back in May, Twitter was immediately filled with jokes about 27-year old Ben Platt playing a high schooler, and the actor clearly noticed. Platt originated the role of insecure outcast Evan Hansen in the hit Broadway musical, earning him a Tony at the 2017 awards show, but his casting in the upcoming film version rubbed some people the wrong way. And that rubbed him the wrong way. When asked about all the Dear Evan Hansen casting criticism, Ben Platt’s response was pointed.
A large part of the backlash regarding Platt reprising his role as Evan Hansen was joke-y, as viewers pointed out the ridiculousness of the 27-year-old actor unconvincingly portraying a teenager. During his June 18 appearance on The Zach Sang Show, Platt said that aspect of the critique didn’t really bother him too much. “People like to have something to say that is negative, regardless of what it is,” Platt said. “And so if my thing is something that I can’t control at all — which is my age — then bring it on. I’m glad it’s not about the performance or my voice or anything that actually matters.”
But Platt’s age was only part of the conversation surrounding his casting. The actor has also been criticized for nepotism, given that his father, Marc Platt, is producing the Dear Evan Hansen movie. The elder Platt is a major producer in Hollywood, with blockbuster movies like Legally Blonde, Into the Woods, La La Land, and Cruella among his many credits. While the younger Platt didn’t outright address any comments about nepotism in his interview, he made his stance clear: the reason he was cast in the film role was because of his work in the stage production — and nothing else.
“I think the reaction is largely from people who don’t understand the context of the piece — the fact that I created the role and workshopped it for three years,” Platt said. “Were I not to do the movie, it probably wouldn’t get made. And so, I think, my defensive response is to want to go onto Twitter and be like, ‘F you, guys. You don’t even know that this wouldn’t exist without me.’ Of course, that's not true entirely and not my place to say. All I have to do is let the work speak for itself.”
Fans can decide what they think about Platt’s portrayal of Evan Hansen when Dear Evan Hansen hits theaters on Sept. 24.