We collected the inteviews, video and written, that Lin-Manuel Miranda gave so far to promote His Dark Materials season two.
Let’s start with the recap of season one he did for IGN.
Under the cut you can find more from Foxtel, HBO Asia, The Hollywood Reporter, Extra TV, Variety and Entertainment Weekly.
“Oh, this is my holiday,” Miranda said. “I remember at the end of the first season, I was getting beat up or doing something crazy, [and] one of the crew members was like, ‘You’re going to have a nice long holiday after this.’ I said, ‘No, man, me pretending to be a cowboy in Wales is the holiday. This is my vacation from all the other projects I have going on. You know, for someone who grew up in New York City, this is really kind of beautiful and serene. I have a kid who is old enough to enjoy dragons and castles and there’s a castle every fifty feet here, so it’s pretty nice!”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you compare season 2 to season 1?
LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: It’s interesting. The characters all kind of ricochet off each other in different ways. We’re split in different ways. I don’t have as much time with Dafne. I was sort of glued to her side in the first season. But it deepens and widens the world. I think that’s the magic of Philip Pullman’s world. It starts in a world that’s sort of recognizable to ours, right? Like, Okay, we’ve got demon-souls, but this looks like Oxford, this looks like the north, I can see the real world parallels. Then the worlds just keep getting wilder and wilder. [It] keeps expanding the aperture of what is possible and that’s sort what happens in season 2.
Would you say the second season is darker?
I think there’s more of both extremes. I think there’s moments of incredible levity. You get to see Lyra (Keen) with someone her own age (Amir Wilson’s Will Parry), who’s been through some of the things she’s been through. There are moments of great levity and there are almost moments that are dark and pretty intense.
As you said, season 2 explores these other worlds. Does that affect you?
A little bit. The world is just constantly expanding. In the first season for example we wenet to the city of Trollesund, which was this giant city we built in the middle of a bunch of farms up in the Brecon Beacons. I was like, wow, this is really big scale for BBC. This was before HBO had joined. That is the tiniest set I’ve been on this season. Like, Cittàgazze (another of Pullman’s fictional towns) is bigger than some towns in Italy upon which it is based. So, yes, just the scale of the thing is so surreal now.
What’s it been like working with Dafne?
Oh, it’s so great. Her other big project prior to this was Logan with Hugh Jackman, so she was very comfortable singing show tunes between takes. I dropped right into the Hugh Jackman track of her life. It was like, Oh, yeah, we’ll sing some Oliver! while we wait for the next set up. She‘s so talented. Her parents are both actors, so they keep her very grounded, and her Mom’s on set all the time. It’s really nice when you see someone that talented, that young, and their head is very screwed on straight. Because it’s a lot, you know, to have all this going on when you’re a kid.
“I’ve gained new perspective on it, having been able to be a part of this other fantasy franchise and seeing how, ‘Oh man, we did eight hours of story and we still didn’t get all of the first book in there. What hope does a movie have?!’ The answer is none,” Miranda explains in an interview ahead of the U.S. premiere of His Dark Materials season 2 on HBO and HBO Max. “The real answer is a director and a script with a vision, that is a different thing [than the book] because you can’t get all of Pat’s incredible book into one movie, and I don’t know if you can get it into one series. But it is an incredible world worth exploring, but it hasn’t been cracked yet.”
Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle tells of Kvothe, who one day becomes his world’s most notorious wizard but he begins as an adventuring musician. John Rogers (Leverage) was set to write the pilot episode and serve as showrunner for the planned adaptation.
Miranda — as busy as he ever is juggling writing, producing, composing, directing, and acting— returns as aeronaut Lee Scoresby in His Dark Materials, which adapts the events of author Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife in season 2. Premiering in the States this Sunday, Nov. 16, the new batch of episodes honors the “disorientation” that’s in the books, Miranda says. “We have spent the whole first book in this very richly imagined world and then Book 2 starts and you’re in a completely different universe,” he explains of his experience reading Pullman’s trilogy. “You start to get a glimpse of how big and epic the scope of this story is gonna be. I think season 2 of our show honors that, that disorientation that we’re gonna spend time in different universes.”
That show, which introduced the concept of daemons as the physical manifestation of human souls that exist outside the body as talking animals, is also a complex, fantastical world to The Kingkiller Chronicle. Witnessing this “process of adaptation” with lead executive producer Jane Tranter and writer Jack Thorne was “fascinating,” Miranda continues. “Even with seven hours of TV, it still doesn’t feel like we got all of it.”
In terms of the multitude of other projects on his plate, Miranda says, “I’m writing scores for two animated musicals, one for Sony and one for Disney.”
Vivo, the one for Sony he estimates is now “10 years in the making,” tells of a music-loving capuchin monkey who makes a treacherous journy from Havana to Miami. “It’s in amazing shape,” Miranda notes, “and Quiara [Alegría Hudes], my cowriter on [In the] Heights, is working on the screenplay with Kirk [De Micco], our director.” For the Disney animated musical, the Colombia-set Encanto, Miranda says, “It’s been so exciting because with Moana it was the joy of my life but I was the last guy hired. And with this I’ve been in on the ground floor. To be in on the development of an original Disney musical is such a thrill.”
Miranda says he also finished composing the songs for Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid with Alan Menken before the pandemic-prompted lockdowns hit in March. “I can’t wait for [the cast] to get back to work because they hadn’t started rolling when everything closed down,” he mentioned. “So, I’m hoping they start in earnest at the top of next year.”