Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton arrives on Disney Plus today, as a performance recorded live 2016 at New York’s Richard Rodgers Theatre.
“We were conscious that if you film anything, it changes the equation,” director Thomas Kail told Variety. “It’s not a negative impact, it just changes the thing. This was as close as we could get to trying to collect as much of the energy that existed in the room at the Richard Rodgers in New York City.”
Shot over three days, the film is culled from two live performances and extra footage without an audience for increased coverage. “The cameras were positioned in the audience, the audience sat around them,” the director told Cinemablend. “All the cameras were in the house or off stage. And we just ran the show as we always did.”
“We shot 13 or 14 of the numbers, there’s 46 total, outside of those two live shows,” he continued. “So we had a few numbers where we were able to get on stage with a Steadicam or have a camera on a crane, or on a dolly. Just to give a different feel to some of the proximity we can have with the company.”
By 2016 the cast had been performing the show for a year, enabling a non-interventionist approach to directing the movie. “They knew exactly what to do,” said Kail. “My job was to not get in the way of that. Another thing that was quite different is when you’re editing, no one was ever saying it has to be shorter. We were not solving story problems, so that part of your brain is completely freed up.”
Although audiences won’t be able to see it in cinemas as was originally intended, Miranda remains optimistic. “We hope the possibility still exists and that once movie theaters are open again, there’s a world in which this plays in movie theaters,” he said. “But you also have to acknowledge the timeline of the reality you live in. The timeline we live in, there’s no live theater anywhere. I’m just thrilled that we have this giant joyous reminder of how special live theater is in the form of this Hamilton movie.”
This story originally appeared on TVBEuropes sister publication Creative Planet Network.