‘Dear Evan Hansen’ | Anatomy of a Scene

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‘Dear Evan Hansen’ | Anatomy of a Scene

The director Stephen Chbosky narrates a sequence from his film, featuring Ben Platt.

I’m Stephen Chbosky. I am the director of the film adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen.” “(SINGING) Step out, step out of the sun if you keep getting burned.” What we’re looking at here is Ben Platt reprising his role that he made famous on Broadway of Evan Hansen. And in this moment in the film, we’ve met Evan already in his bedroom where he has more than communicated how much anxiety that he carries with him. We’re learning that this is the first day of school. We’re learning like just the voices in his head. And he just spins out and he started singing this wonderful song called “Waving Through a Window.” What is distinct about this scene is that he’s actually— if you look at what’s actually happening, even though he is singing, what the singing in this moment represents is a thought in his head. He’s not actually talking, you know, in the real world. Like he’s not talking right now. He’s not actually singing it walking through a hallway. If you notice, none of the people around him are dancing. It’s not “High School Musical.” There’s no performance it’s just he is alone in the world. “(SINGING) Make a sound. When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around, do you ever really crash or even make a sound?” And everything that we shot, we wanted to show how he’s kind of lost in the world and how no one pays attention to him and that this entire song is a thought in his head. And in a lot of ways, it’s like a cry for help. “(SINGING) On the outside always looking in will I—” There was visual choreography. And even though the people in the hallways are not dancing, there are certain things that are hit. Like there’s locker slams sometimes on the beat. Or there’s like social media, which is an omnipresent part of the story, that are happening sometimes on the beat and sometimes it’s happening slightly off. So all these things always go back to kind of the noise in his head. It was choreographed, but not in the traditional musical sense. It was really choreographed to his emotions. That was always the main thing, the emotions. Where is he living? What does this mean? How does it affect him emotionally? “(SINGING) Is anybody waving? Waving? Waving? Whoa-oh-oh-oh!”

Recent episodes in Anatomy of a Scene

Film directors walk viewers through one scene of their movies, showing the magic, motives and the mistakes from behind the camera.

Film directors walk viewers through one scene of their movies, showing the magic, motives and the mistakes from behind the camera.