Brian d’Arcy James is back as King George III! The Broadway veteran is reprising the role he originated in ‘Hamilton,’ this time on the Broadway stage. HollywoodLife.com chatted EXCLUSIVELY with Brian all about his return, a possible ‘Hamilton’ movie, and more!
Brian D’Arcy James, 48, is taking over as King George III from SNL alum Taran Killam, 35, returning to the role he originated during the show’s Public Theater run Off-Broadway. The 3-time Tony nominee will be joined by Aladdin’s James Monroe Iglehart, 42, who will be assuming the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. HollywoodLife.com got the chance to talk with Brian before he took the stage as King George once again.
What brought about your return to Hamilton?
It was just about finding a time that was right for production and right for my schedule. It just so happens that this was a window that could work, so we grabbed it. It’s remarkable that I get to come back. As everyone knows, it’s such an extraordinary thing, but my attachment to it is deep and personal and I’m proud of my association with the show, so being able to come back and kind of square the circle is nice.
Are you excited to act alongside a different cast?
I am. I saw the show the other night for the first time since the public run and, of course, it’s a whole new cast except a couple of people that I did the show with down there, Thayne Jasperson being one of them. It’s remarkable how this show allows for such different and unique interpretation of character yet remain completely faithful to the bulk of what Lin has written, which is always a great testament to the writing when different people can come in and put a spin on it that is their own and yet it doesn’t alter the evenly distributed weight of the play. That’s just great writing and great staging. It’s going to be really interesting to be out there and looking into new eyes that I don’t know as well, but I’ve kind of come to know in a crash course the past couple of days.
Did you ever expect Hamilton to become a worldwide phenomenon?
I don’t know if I knew the scope of its reach. I always knew it was special, and I knew it was going to be regarded as something great. I certainly didn’t see the worldwide phenomenon that it has undoubtedly become. I don’t know if anyone did really. This is another interesting thing about coming back is that when I left it was just starting to kind of break out of its shell and people like Paul McCartney and Hillary Clinton were showing up so it was like, “Oh, okay, this is what they call a hot ticket I guess?” But now, it’s different because it’s been so indelibly etched into cultural psyche that there’s so much expectation now and familiarity with it. When I saw it the other night as kind of a primer of going back in, what I was able to appreciate in a new way was how grateful every single person in that audience felt just to be there because they now were in the club. They’d gone through the eye of the needle, and they were finally witnessing this thing that they were so excited to see. For me, that was very valuable because it’s just a great lesson not only with Hamilton but with any show that you’re doing to understand that people are there because they want to be there.
What are your thoughts on a Hamilton movie?
I think it’s the kind of thing that there’s certainly an appetite for it. No doubt. I think the material and the story is told in such a way that there’s all kinds of flexibility in terms of how it might told visually in a cinematic experience, so I wouldn’t discount it at all. I also think culturally, in terms of how forms of entertainment, more specifically musicals, are becoming less and less out of left field. They’re becoming more and more the norm in terms of what we go to in the movies, so it’s a great time to consider such a thing. When that happens, I don’t know. I think it’s wise as they are doing to kind of keep it in its original intent for as long as possible. But the short answer is, yes, I could see a movie.
Brian can be seen as King George III starting April 14 at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City. He’s also currently starring as Mr. Baker in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.
HollywoodLifers, are you excited to see Brian return as King George III? Let us know!