Alexandra Ship Talks Tick, Tick … Boom! And What it Was Like Working With Lin-Manuel Miranda


In his directorial debut, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has helmed Tick, Tick … Boom! A movie based on the life of the late Jonathon Larson, who is most famous for writing the hit Broadway musical, Rent

A story Miranda can no doubt relate to, being a writer and a man of many talents himself, the movie follows Larson’s journey, which oftentimes was mundane and tragic all at once. 

Academy Award-nominated actor Andrew Garfield assumes the role of Larson, with Oscar buzz already forming for his stunning portrayal of the troubled composer.

The movie, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alexandra Shipp reveals the heartache of musical theatre and the ordeal of the quarter-life crisis.

Shipp, who plays Larson’s girlfriend Susan in the film, summarised the entire film with a simple phrase to POPSUGAR Australia: “This movie is so beautiful because it asks the question, ‘what do we do with the time that we have?'”

Larson, who died after suffering from an aortic dissection just ten days before his 35th birthday, never had the chance to see Rent live on stage.

Perhaps best known for her role in Straight Outta Compton, Shipp the part of Susan would be challenging, revealing she learnt a lot from Miranda during filming. 

“Playing Susan was getting past myself and allowing Susan to come forward. When ego comes into play you think I’m not good enough, this isn’t going to work, I’m going to embarrass Lin,” she said. “All of the narratives our mind likes to tell us, so it was getting past that and really opening myself up to what Lin had to bring out of me. It’s about getting past yourself and allowing yourself to really dive deep.”

Having never danced professionally before, the 30-year-old completely devoted herself to the role, training for hours to bring the character to life.

“I worked my butt off, I knew when it came to a musical you would be doing various numbers and performances over and over again, all day and so I wanted to get that endurance up,” she said. 

“So I spent my butt in a dance studio just going for hours on end”

But working with the likes of Garfield and Hudgens, who both have musical experience under their belt, also taught Shipp so much, saying everyone around her was just “really, really good.”

“It’s really exciting to work with such incredible actors. Every single actor in this movie is brilliant and knows exactly what they’re doing. It just made me want to rise to the occasion that much more. I felt really at home and just safe with everybody.”

Susan, who is shown to be a hopeless romantic is a character Shipp resonated with. From the difficulties and challenges to the beautiful moments, the actress said she’s experienced the ups and downs of being in love with an artist, but in her own words, “Someone’s gotta do it!”

“It’s a love I’ve been in before and I’ll be in again. When you see that, especially in a creative woman, you’re drawn to that and I was drawn to Susan in that way.”

First watching Rent when she was just a child, Shipp knew she wanted to be in an autobiographical musical about the man behind it. Despite the adult themes, the story touched her even back then, saying it’s no “run of the mill musical, this is something different.”

At the end of the day, Tick, Tick … Boom! Is a movie honouring the life and legacy Jonathan Larson left behind, and each member of the cast did a brilliant job showcasing just that.

Tick, Tick … Boom! will be released on Netflix from November 19 and select theatres on November 11.

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