The film adaptation of "Dear Evan Hansen
" got off to a rocky start this week when a newly released trailer
drew jeers for its main star's age.
The musical, directed by Stephen Chbosky, follows Evan Hansen (played by Ben Platt
), a shy, socially anxious teen who achieves viral
fame in the aftermath of a classmate's death
. If the film is successful, Platt, who earned an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony after originating the role of Evan on Broadway
in 2016, could get his shot at an Oscar, completing his EGOT.
Of course, nearly five years have passed since Platt's chilling, once-in-a-lifetime performance in the stage production, and many on social media
questioned whether the actor, now 27, could still be convincing as a high school student after the trailer debuted Tuesday.
#DearEvanHansen pic.twitter.com/hX0lJBeDma— Jason Tinney (@jtinneydance) May 18, 2021
d'artagnan | (@ayellowlamp) May 18, 2021
A number of news organizations also weighed in.
“Ben Platt is not too old to play Evan Hansen, and in certain circumstances, he never will be,” The A.V. Club complained, “but he’s too old to play him in this movie.” Similarly, Jezebel complained: “Asking anyone to overlook the fact that Ben Platt’s makeup and physicality make him look 40 while trying to play a teenager is simply a tree that one cannot climb.”
Platt's response to the criticism came on Wednesday.
“Thank u from the bottom of my [heart] for the outpouring of trailer love yesterday,” he wrote in a since-deleted tweet, which Variety, BuzzFeed, and other outlets captured for posterity. “The film required me to revisit areas of personal pain, so seeing ppl excited & moved makes it so deeply worth it. PS to the randos being jerks about age, read this great article and/or watch grease.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Ben Platt criticizes “the randos being jerks about [his] age” in the film #DearEvanHansen. (https://t.co/TUf0pcJH27)
pic.twitter.com/XhZ4IvS1KD— Film Updates (@TheFilmUpdates) May 19, 2021
Platt's reference to "Grease" raised an interesting point: Stockard Channing was the oldest of Rydell High's "teens
" at 33 when she played Rizzo, while John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were 23 and 29, respectively, when they played Danny and Sandy.
His tweet also included a link to a Vanity Fair interview from Tuesday, in which Platt addressed concerns about his age ahead of time.
“Much to my pleasant surprise, Universal seemed to be really hell-bent on making it, and specifically making it with me,” he explained. “I’d lost about 15 pounds and done a very specific diet, grew my hair
out, and was shaving to make sure that I didn’t look like I had five o’clock shadow all the time, you know. I was just stripping myself into being a teenager for the last time.