Dear Evan Hansen trailer shows off the film’s Pen15 approach

27-year-old Ben Platt as the 17-year-old Evan Hansen

27-year-old Ben Platt as the 17-year-old Evan Hansen
Screenshot: Universal Pictures

Dear Evan Hansen, the smash Broadway musical that was unavoidable in New York City for the last half-decade or so, is finally coming to the big screen. With a cast of heavy-hitters, including Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, and Kaitlyn Dever, the new trailer shows off director Stephen Chbosky’s approach to adapting the hit play, which is to say he’s Pen15-ing it. Much like the Hulu series in which comedians in their 30s play teenage versions of their younger selves, Dear Evan Hansen features a lead in his late-20s, Ben Platt, 27, reprising his role as the titular 17-year-old. And, boy, howdy, does it look weird.

Evan Hansen follows, um, Evan Hansen as he deals with another teen’s suicide by writing letters to himself, being anxious and withdrawn at school, and looking like a 27-year-old. Not that there’s anything wrong with looking like a 27-year-old, but man, this whole thing really looks like Pen15. Like, did they think no one would notice? Sure, it’s common in Hollywood, but come on.

But the pull of Hansen is presumably the music, which was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman). Steven Levenson, who wrote the book for the show, also wrote the screenplay. Though, based on the trailer, which pretty much gives you the whole movie, dancing isn’t really this thing’s forte because Evan just stands there when he sings. Heck, you might not even know it’s a musical until the very end, which is weird because, jeez, this guy does not look like a teenager. Well, the show won a bunch of Tonys, so maybe they know what they’re doing.

Dear Evan Hansen hit theaters (!) on September 24.

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