Dear Evan Hansen writer hits out at "cruel" Ben Platt criticism

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Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Dear Evan Hansen writer Steven Levenson has hit back at those who have reacted cruelly to Ben Platt's casting in the emotional teen drama.

Ahead of the movie's release in October , the writer – who wrote the book behind the original Broadway musical, before adapting the show for the big screen – claimed that it's "totally fine" to not be a fan of the film, or think that Platt, 27, is too old to have played the titular high school student, even.

What's not okay though, he says, is expressing said thoughts in mean ways and for all to see online – an idea that the movie itself explores.

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Related: Ben Platt responds to Dear Evan Hansen criticism over his age

"I am struck by the vitriol for Ben. Especially the cruelty," Levenson told Vulture recently.

"[On] social media, it's easier to forget that there are human beings on the other side of those tweets. Whatever you think about someone's performance or their age-appropriateness, they're still a person," he continued. "The cruelty, I think, is discouraging."

Platt recently addressed the backlash himself, when he was asked about it by moderator Katie Couric during a private screening and panel interview in New York City.

"Everyone is looking for something to hate on right now," he replied. "Everyone is bored and upset and outraged and tired and frustrated and I understand. We're going through a horrible time, so I get it. But I think people that want to love it and find beauty in it are going to. People that want to hate it are going to hate it. And everybody hates musicals, too."

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Related: Amy Adams teases what to expect from the Enchanted sequel

Also starring Booksmart's Kaitlyn Dever, Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, Dear Evan Hansen follows anxious teenager Evan (Platt), who's desperate to find his place in amongst his – often quite vicious – peers.

When a letter he wrote for a writing exercise falls into the hands of a grieving couple whose son died by suicide, though, he's forced to confront his own mental health struggles, all while navigating a new romance.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower's Stephen Chbosky directs.

Dear Evan Hansen will be released in cinemas on October 22 in the UK and on September 24 in the US. The theatre show reopens in London in October 2021, with tickets available now.

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