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Video: Lin-Manuel Miranda on Xfinity Hangouts
Oct 23, 2019
Interview / Television Projects / Video

When he was in California during the TCA Summer Press Tour for His Dark Materials over the Summer, Lin-Manuel Miranda gave an interview to Xfinity Hangouts.

Check the video below.

Interview: Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about His Dark Materials on Entertainment Weekly
Oct 21, 2019
Interview / Television Projects

Lin-Manuel Miranda gave an interview about His Dark Materials to Entertainment Weekly.

Read about his experience on set, how he found Lee Scoresby’s accent and much more.

On casting Miranda, the first actor to join the series, executive producer Jane Tranter recalls seeing In the Heights in London with her daughter in fall 2016. “Obviously, I knew the musical, I knew Hamilton, but we were there, we were seeing it. It was incredible,” she says. Tranter also knew Miranda had been tweeting praise for His Dark Materials and series writer Jack Thorne’s work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Since the actor was also already in London filming his role of lamplighter Jack in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, they set up a meeting.

Miranda doesn’t think he’s an obvious choice to play Lee, but Tranter saw a “humor, kindness, and fighting spirit” within him that was necessary for the character.

Below, Miranda spoke with EW from Wales — where His Dark Materials was already at work on its second season — about forming his own version of Lee, entering this fantastical world, and Lee’s relationship with Hester.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Half jokey, half serious question: How do you even have time to film a role like this with all the other projects you’re juggling?

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: I will fully acknowledge that His Dark Materials is my vacation. I do, you’re right. I have a lot of writing deadlines and my vacation is that I get to be a Texan hot air balloon aeronaut and have adventures in Wales [their filming location] for a month and a half out of the year. This is the holiday.

Are you going back into In the Heights once filming on season 2 is done, or are you officially wrapped on that?

I officially wrapped last week and they [the cast] have officially wrapped, so now post-production. My side projects while I’m here are, I’m writing songs with [Little Mermaid composer] Alan [Menken]; we’ve had a couple of intense days in the studio together and now we’re going back and forth and we’re going to find more time together in September. Then, when I get back at the end of September, I get the joy of [Broadway’s] Freestyle Love Supreme, which for me will be my semi-regular therapy session where I get to rap whatever I want on Broadway.

Do you find you like this fast pace between projects?

I just look at what’s on my sheet and I can’t think of anything I’d trade. It’s all exciting and they are all very different muscle groups. The muscle group I use to write with Alan is very different from what I need to play Lee Scorseby, it’s very different than what I’ll need on stage at the Booth Theatre [for Freestyle Love Supreme] getting suggestions [from the audience] in October. I feel like each strengthens the other and that’s how I think of it.

I know you’re a big fan of the books. Did you have to audition at all or was it just that meeting in London you spoke about during Comic-Con?

That was the meeting. It was a pretty overnight [process] from the offer of Lee Scoresby to “yes.” My wife and I read the books together and we were having a great time living in London for Marry Poppins. So, when the chance to be a part of the series of books came up, it was pretty easy for us to go, “Yeah, we’ll come back next summer,” not to London but to the U.K. So, it’s actually been wonderful.

Was there anything specific about Jane and Jack’s vision for the show that sold you, or was it more the chance to be a part of His Dark Materials?

It was both. The books themselves, which I love and have reread many times, and the people sitting across from me: an incredible producer with an incredible track record. I think we had been a few months out from seeing Jack tackle the other British literary masterpiece, the Harry Potter series, with The Cursed Child. He did a brilliant job adapting that world for the stage and both honoring the source material and finding very personal themes within it. So, it just seemed like it was in really good hands and the luxury of time to get one [His Dark Materials] season per book is what everything the fans of the books have wished for. That movie [2007’s The Golden Compass] just didn’t have time to go into all of the richly imagined worlds Philip Pullman’s created.

Speaking of that movie, do you find you’re using Sam Elliott’s performance [who played Lee] as a reference at all?

I think that would be the fastest way on the road to ruin. No one is more Sam Elliott than Sam Elliott. I have to tell you, I wouldn’t be the first person to cast me in this role. Jane and Jack so confidently saw me in it that I worked through that confidence and I found my own Scoresby, I found my own Texas accent, found my own way into it.

How would you describe Lin-Manuel Miranda’s version of the Texan accent?

I have a lot of family in Texas. They’re not the Texas that is usually represented on screen. They don’t sound anything like Yosemite Sam. They live in San Antonio and Corpus Christi and further south. I’m channeling a bit of my cousins and my uncles. My grandfather grew up in Eagle Pass with my mom and dad which is really close to the Texas border, and I was pulling from there.

You had tweeted that His Dark Materials “made you a better actor.” What was most challenging about this role?

There’s a number of technical challenges to it. You have a constant costar in the form of a puppet [for the daemon], but I’ve worked on Sesame Street so it wasn’t that crazy to me. Working with Dafne [Keen, who plays Lyra] was enormous fun. She’s incredibly grounded and a wonderful actress, especially for someone her age. She’s prodigious. I guess the biggest challenge was just really staying grounded in a very heightened world. You’re living in a world with armored bears and animal souls and flying hot air balloons, and your job is to make it feel as real as possible because the world is adjacent to the world we live in. So much of the performance becomes about staying real when you’re trying to convince an armored bear not to kill someone.

I think the daemons, too, are an interesting narrative exercise. What could’ve been an internal monologue now becomes a conversation between two characters. Was there anything that struck you about Lee’s conversation with Hester that was most revealing to you about this character?

It’s such a brilliant conceit. I think Philip Pullman, even in one of his essays from his Daemon Voices book last year, talks about coming up with the idea of daemons because he had this young narrator and he wanted her to be able to express herself. It’s such a great end run around a Shakespearian soliloquy. I think what you realize when you watch the show is that everyone’s relationship to their daemon — not just what kind of animal it is, but the way in which they interact with their daemon — tells us a lot about who they are. Mrs. Coulter’s has an almost entirely non-verbal interaction with her daemon, which is very different from mine, which is practically a buddy-comedy. Lee Scoresby spends a lot of time alone and he talks to Hester a lot and she talks back a lot. There’s a lot of gab back and forth in contrast to even Lyra and [Lyra’s daemon] Pan, where Pan is a bit of a Jiminy Cricket, a bit of a conscience, a bit of a gut check for Lyra. A lot of the time with Lee and Hester, Lee is already getting into trouble before Hester can be like, “Yeah, that’s not a great idea.” … I had an awesome Latina actress [Alonzo] who’ve I’d been a fan of for a long time doing the voice [of Hester], so I was really happy when I saw the final edit. It’s cool that a Latino actor playing a Texan aeronaut also has a Latina voice actor.

When you’re on set, what are those conversations like with the voice actor? Is it mostly blocking or are you trying to get in the same headspace?

It’s both. You’ve got a voice actor, you’ve got a puppeteer. They should show you a picture of the arctic hare puppet. It’s a skeleton of what the final thing will be, but it’s cuddly enough that I get it and I can see why I would devout my life to keeping her safe and her me. That’s enough to get me there and the puppeteers are so talented… I don’t think I saw any artwork until about two weeks before I started filming, which was exciting. I’m thrilled with where they landed. It feels not of this world, but adjacent to this world. We’re embarking on the second season [based on The Subtle Knife novel] and the second season is going to be about multiple worlds, including one that is almost exactly like our own. We clearly tell the difference from scene to scene because there’s a way they heightened the art direction and the editing of Lyra’s universe. You’re not going to see it for a few years [in a future season], but I toured the set of Cittàgazze and it’s just wild. You can see the influences from our universe, but they’ve blended it all together into something new and it’s really cool.

Since you’re a fan of the books, do you feel like the story has a different impact now in 2019 versus when you and your wife first read the books?

Yeah. There’s a part of me wishes the books were so precious and so relevant because one of the themes it tackles is authority and control over speech and control over peoples’ bodies, whether that is a religious organization or a government organization. I wish that the images of children being separated from their parents didn’t echo what is currently happening in our country.

News:Lin-Manuel Miranda and Geoge Clooney Joined Forces in Reviving Origins by Nespresso
Oct 21, 2019
Interview / Video

The Hispanic Federation continues its efforts to help the Puerto Rico’s coffee industry, teaming up with Nespresso for a new initiative, to which Lin-Manuel Miranda and George Clooney lend their faces and voices.

Check the video promo below, see the promo and the screen captures in our Gallery and read more about the initiative.

Miscellaneous > Reviving Origins by Nespresso – Puerto Rico (2019)Promo
Miscellaneous > Reviving Origins by Nespresso – Puerto Rico (2019)Screen Captures

From Fortune:

Nespresso is producing its first-ever, 100% Puerto Rican coffee. And the coffee pod giant is getting some help not only from brand ambassador George Clooney but fellow actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Named Cafecito De Puerto Rico, the rare coffee is touted to highlight the natural earthiness of Puerto Rico’s coffee beans. Nespresso says it is launching the limited-edition line to reaffirm its commitment to reviving the island’s coffee industry.
In 2017, Hurricanes Maria and Irma destroyed 80% of Puerto Rico’s coffee trees and harvest. As a Nespresso brand ambassador for more than 15 years now, the company has cited Clooney as a critical part of its sustainability initiatives, traveling to South Sudan and most recently to Puerto Rico. During his last visit, Clooney also toured farms and met with farmers and their families to discuss the impact of both hurricanes and what needs to be done to revive their land.

Various organizations—including the Hispanic Federation as well as Nespresso—have been working with local coffee farmers to help revitalize their crops. Just over a year ago, the Hispanic Federation—together with the Miranda family—announced the launch of a three-year initiative to revitalize Puerto Rico’s coffee sector. Founding partners to the initiative included the Hispanic Federation, Nespresso, the Rockefeller Foundation, Starbucks, TechnoServe, and World Coffee Research—all of which pledged to smallholder coffee farmers on the island. The Hispanic Federation made the first investment of $1 million, and Nespresso also committed $1 million. TechnoServe has hired and trained local professionals to be farmer trainers, and over 280 farmers have begun participating in monthly, hands-on training sessions, which take place in four major coffee producing regions.

Starting on October 21, customers who donate to the Hispanic Federation will have first access to Cafecito de Puerto Rico. Every dollar donated will be used to plant one new coffee tree on the island. The Hispanic Federation has the goal to plant 2.25 million new coffee trees in Puerto Rico within the next four years. 
Sleeves of Cafecito de Puerto Rico are priced at $20. Cafecito de Puerto Rico is available to only U.S. consumers via online purchase.

Video: New BBC trailer for His dark Materials
Oct 21, 2019
Television Projects / Video

BBC has released yet another trailer for His Dark Materials, ahead of the fantasy series’ debut on November, 3 with some new good looks at Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby.

On the HBO the show will debut on November, 4.

Check the trailer below and head to our Gallery to see the poster released by HBO.

Feature: Lin-Manuel Miranda on Times Magazine for His Dark Materials
Oct 19, 2019
Feature / Interview / Photo Session / Stills/Screencaptures / Television Projects

On Saturday October, 19 Lin-Manuel Miranda graced the cover of Times Magazine with a long interview where he touches many topics, from the upcoming TV show His Dark Materials to how he takes care of his mental health.

In our Gallery you can see a new promo picture from His Dark Materials and a new portrat, while below you can read some highlights from the article.

Television Projects > His Dark Materials (2019)Promo Photo Sessions > Session 018Session 018

He claims to be totally exhausted, in the middle of a busy day promoting His Dark Materials (set in a parallel universe in which our young heroine, Lyra, leaves Oxford in search of a lost friend; Miranda plays the character of Lee Scoresby, an aeronaut who flies a balloon), adding that he has barely slept. (“It was musical beds. I went to bed with my wife. At 1am the baby started crying and she went to his room and then never came back, and around 2am my other son crawled in and slept perpendicular to me, his feet in my face.”) But he is nevertheless one of the bounciest people I have ever met.

He cheerfully insists he loves the Pullman trilogy of books, which have sold more than 22 million copies globally (“I fell in love with them in my mid-twenties. When I started dating my wife, they were one of the series we read together, and I was really thrilled to be asked to be a part of it”) and says he “adores” working with puppeteers (everyone in Lyra’s world is permanently accompanied by an animal daemon that is an external manifestation of their inner self, and the actors performed opposite these daemons in puppet form). Working on Sesame Street – a “thrill” – was good preparation for the task (“The best part of that gig is the first time you do it, you get a PDF file which is the vocal ranges of the Muppets, and that’s a cool PDF to have”), he likes being in Cardiff, where it is being filmed (“Listen, I have a four-year-old little boy who is super-into knights and dragons, so the fact that I’m in a place where there’s a castle every exit on the motorway is pretty great”) and is treasuring the opportunity to travel with his family (“We knew there was a cap on our time to travel because my son starts kindergarten in the fall … Then I’ll be home”). And yes, Cardiff does count as thrilling travel. “The only people who are snobby about Cardiff are Londoners! You know what I love? I love hanging around the mall! I grew up in the city, so malls are still kind of a novelty to me.”

“We got our first car last summer: it’s a wagon that fits two child car seats.” And I read he still lives in the Washington Heights/Inwood neighbourhood in Upper Manhattan that he grew up in? “Yeah, I live 20 blocks from where I grew up, and all four grandparents are walking distance from my kids – that’s the best thing.” Before we get carried away about his humble ways, I should say there are two PRs listening in to our conversation from a table behind us, and when I refer to a claim that he still flies commercial, it turns out the experience of starring in the recent Mary Poppins Returns has left him not unaccustomed to the occasional private jet. “I fly commercial most of the time.” A coy glance. “If it’s Disney and they want you to be back at a certain time, and you are doing press for them, you serve the pleasure of the Walt Disney Company.”

I refuse to believe he hasn’t splashed out more. “When does this come out? It is my wife’s birthday in two weeks, and my wife’s favourite book is Moby-Dick. I went to a rare books place this morning and bought a first-edition complete Melville, and I will not tell her how much I spent on it. It was expensive: it was not as much as a car, but it was expensive. It’s funny – I’ve met other composers who have hits, and they all have the eccentricity that wealth has allowed them to have. You know, Andrew Lloyd Webber famously has art falling off his walls, and he has a couple of theatres – I’m never going to buy a theatre! You go to Stephen Sondheim’s house: he’s got puzzles; he’s a puzzle guy. Alan Menken, composer of The Little Mermaid, has a tortorium [turtle house]. I’m in the market for an eccentricity.”

It turns out that he went into therapy to help deal with the change. “I’ve been in therapy intensively twice in my life; I’m probably due for a third. The first time was after sophomore year [the second year] in college, breaking up with my first serious girlfriend. We’d been together for four and a half years. It was like a summer of therapy and it was great. The other time I did it, the other summer of therapy, was in the transition between off-Broadway and Broadway for In the Heights, and it was sort of beginning to deal with success, and my relationship with my girlfriend, now wife, was getting serious, so I just had a ton of shit that I needed to sort out on the table.”

He says he doesn’t get recognised that often, and characteristically doesn’t mind when he is (“People are 99 per cent of the time cool”), but I realise at this point that the two business executives on the table next to us have given up analysing spreadsheets on their laptops in favour of eavesdropping on this increasingly intimate conversation. He said he might be due another round of therapy? “Sure. My life’s changed a lot, I’m juggling a lot and I’m trying to be the best parent I can and the best husband I can. That balance is always hard. I could probably use a couple of sessions to work all that shit out. I could probably do with another summer.”

Read the whole feature under the cut.

Feature: Behind the scene of His Dark Materials with BBC
Oct 15, 2019
Interview / Television Projects

The TV series His Dark Materials premieres on BBC One on Sunday October, 3 and the BBC offered a few features from behind the scenes with interviews to the talents involved, we quoted al the parts about Lin-Manuel Miranda below while the whole articles can be found here and here.

Plus, the feature had a picture of Miranda on set, check it in our gallery. [EDIT: Added a video from the set with an interview and new scenes.]

Six months later, on a warm summer’s day, another main cast member, the acclaimed Lin-Manuel Miranda, strides across a studio floor in Cardiff.

The production has predominantly been filmed inside a former factory, which is now home to the 250,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art Wolf Studios – and that’s in no small part to the unpredictable weather.

Miranda, best known as the Tony award-winning creator and star of the musical Hamilton, leaps into a metal shell resting against a vast green screen.

“Welcome to my hot air balloon,” he grins, explaining he plays the part of aeronaut Lee Scoresby, who he describes as a “Hans Solo-type figure” who helps Lyra on her journey.

“When you see this on the screen, it’ll be flying through the clouds,” he laughs, all thanks to computer generated technology.

The American actor describes himself as a huge fan of the Pullman books, which he first discovered in 2005.

His Dark Materials is made up of three novels; Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. They’ve been translated into 40 languages and sold close to 18 million copies worldwide.

Miranda says he’s thrilled to be part of the landmark series and didn’t need to think twice when he was approached to play the part.

He describes every day’s filming as “a new adventure”.

“Today I’m swinging in the hot air balloon, tomorrow I’m having a bar fight, tussling with stuntmen all day.”

And while he says it’s not the same buzz as performing before an audience, he says he’s equally enjoying this experience.

“The energy comes from knowing we are not coming back to this, from being ever present because you know this is the day to get this done and that’s the substitute to an audience for me,” he says.

He’s also enthusiastic about his time spent in Wales, having made Cardiff his home for months at a time – and delighting locals with regular appearances at a karaoke club in the Welsh capital.

Lee Scoresby’s daemon is an arctic hare named Hester and Manuel admits he’s become quite attached to the creature made from rope and foam, welcoming him on set like an old friend.

Overall, Manuel says he became engrossed in Pullman’s work by its complexity and themes, adding “it takes on life and death, love and growing up and losing people”.

Relocating to south Wales to film His Dark Materials was a “joy”, Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda has said.

The TV adaptation of Sir Philip Pullman’s trilogy is being screened in London before being broadcast on BBC One in November.

The actor plays Lee Scoresby in the series, which was made by production company Bad Wolf in Cardiff.

Miranda shared his love of Wales on social media during filming.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I think part of the joy of saying yes to this was in getting to live in a new part of the world.

“My wife is a lawyer and she does her homework, so every weekend is a different expedition. So, we are going to go to Hay-on-Wye and eat ice cream, and go to all the used booksellers and find cool stuff to read.

“Or we are going to go to Caerphilly Castle and take the kids. I was very lucky that my oldest son was in a knight phase and we had no shortage of castles to take him to.”

To the joy of many locals, Miranda, who has won Tony, Emmy and Grammy awards for his work, was also spotted at events including a musicals karaoke evening at a bar in Cardiff.

Miranda said: “Let me ask you something, wouldn’t it be weirder if there was a musical theatre karaoke going on in Wales and I wasn’t there?

“Yes, someone on Twitter invited me and they were like, ‘Hey, we do musical theatre karaoke, first Thursday of the month,’ and I was like, ‘I’ll see you there!’ And it was great. I brought a bunch of the crew, and it was a fun night out for a lot of the company.

“The next month was a costume night so I came in a phantom mask that I bought in Venice on my weekend off. It was brilliant.”

Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda is Julián Castro on Saturday Night Live
Oct 13, 2019
Gallery Update / Stills/Screencaptures / Television Projects / Video

On October, 12 Lin-Manuel Miranda made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live in the cold open, portraying the Latino Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro.

Check the photos and screen captures in our gallery and the video below.

Television Projects > Saturday Night Live (2019)45×03 David Harbour/Camila CabelloProduction Stills
Television Projects > Saturday Night Live (2019)45×03 David Harbour/Camila CabelloEpisode Screencaptures
Photos: “The Wrong Man” Opening Night at MCC Theater
Oct 10, 2019
Public Appearances

On Moday October, 7 Lin-Manuel Miranda attended the opening night of The Wrong Man at the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space in New York City with his wife Vanessa Nadal.

Check all the photos in HQ in our Gallery.

Radio: Lin-Manuel Miranda on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs
Oct 6, 2019
Audio / Interview

On Sunday October, 6 Lin-Manuel Miranda was the guest of the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs, where he got to pick eight songs one book and a luxury item he would bring on a desert island and explain why he likes them. Listen HERE.

The songs he picked are these:

  • Cabaret from Cabaret
  • The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
  • El padre Antonio y su monaguillo Andres by Ruben Blades
  • Passing Me By by The Pharcyde
  • What You Know by Ali Dineen
  • On The Radio by Regina Spektor
  • Dejate Querer by Gilberto Santa Rosa
  • Rosa Parks by Outkast

The book he picked is Moby Dick by Herman Melville and the luxury item is coffee.

Feature: His Dark Materials on The Sunday Times
Oct 6, 2019
Feature / Interview / Stills/Screencaptures

The Sunday Times has a long feature about His Dark Materials, the show produced by the BBC and the HBO, full of pictures from behind the scenes and interviews with Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

In our Gallery you can see Lin-Manuel on set as Lee Scoresby with the puppet that serves as his dæmon Hester, and below you can read his part of the article.

A two-hour drive north of Cardiff, I am greeted by the anomalous sight of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the American creator and star of Hamilton: An American Musical, standing next to a hot-air balloon in the middle of a Welsh forest dressed in full country-and-western leathers. Miranda is playing Lee Scoresby, the swashbuckling aeronaut who helps Lyra on her journey. He has spent half of last year and half of this year living in Cardiff with his young family. How is he enjoying God’s own country? “I had no preconceptions of Wales,” he says. “Wales is not in the global imagination in the way that London is, or even Scotland or Ireland, so my family came over to beautiful countryside and we lived in a nice part of town near the mall. It was wonderful and then on our weekends we would go and explore a different part. They have castles everywhere to play with.” Before we meet, several cast and crew have whispered about the extent of his immersion in local culture. He has found a musical-theatre singalong in a local pub and has become a regular attendee. When I ask if that could possibly be true, he says, “Why would I miss that?”

To say he’s loving the part is an understatement. “On my first day, I got to do one of those classic bar scenes in a western,” he says, “where you come in and you say the wrong name and the music stops and everyone turns and looks up from their deck of cards.” He took the part because he and his wife had read the books when they’d just started dating. “They’re kind of in our courtship,” he says. He was also won over by the fact that Jack Thorne was writing the script. “Dealing with this beloved literary series is like threading the impossible needle. But I loved Jack’s adaptation of Harry Potter. He’d already done it once, so I trusted his ability to do it with Pullman’s work.”

He nods when I suggest the deeper theme of the trilogy — of Lyra’s pursuit of truth — is particularly apposite in an era of fake news. “You’re talking to the token American in the cast and it couldn’t be more relevant,” he says. “In terms of our current president dumping facts from the EPA website or, what I wish was less relevant, the notion of separating children. That is a major plotline in our series and that is a crisis happening at our border [with Mexico] right now. The big theme of Philip Pullman’s world is the notion of what happens when giant forces, whether they be governmental or religious, try to oppress us. That is universal. The teams will have different names, but that is the universal thing he hits at.”

From there, he digresses into his love of Welsh cakes and British sweets — “I’ve been munching on Dip Dabs and flying saucers” — before he is called back to his hot-air balloon by the director.

Read the whole feature under the cut.