Booksmart star Kaitlyn Dever is heading back to high school, as she’s in talks to play the female lead in the Dear Evan Hansen movie that’s gearing up at Universal.
Ben Platt is expected to reprise his stage role as the title character, though in a curious move, the studio has yet to confirm the 26-year-old’s casting. The story follows high school student Evan Hansen, who gets caught in a lie when one of his letters is mistaken for a classmate’s suicide note. That leads Evan to start a relationship with his classmate’s family, including the boy’s sister, Zoe (Dever), who he begins dating.
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is directing the feature adaptation, which was written by Steve Levenson, who wrote the book for the stage show. It went on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. La La Land duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the music and lyrics for the film, which Platt’s father, Marc Platt, is producing with Adam Siegel. Pasek and Paul will serve as executive producers. Universal’s Sara Scott and Lexi Barta will oversee production on behalf of the studio.
Dever is coming off a marvelous performance as a young rape survivor in the acclaimed Netflix series Unbelievable, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, and is expected to garner multiple Emmy nominations later this summer. Dever has worked with directors such as Kathryn Bigelow, Jason Reitman, Lynn Shelton and Destin Daniel Cretton, and she’ll soon be seen in a pair of anthology series — one from BJ Novak, the other from Annapurna Television.
Dever is one of the most talented performers of her generation and while I haven’t been lucky enough to catch the Dear Evan Hansen stage show, it sounds like she’s a strong fit for this part. And besides, we already know she can sing, as she and her sister have their own band, Beulahbelle, which contributed a pair of tracks to the soundtrack for Reitman‘s Tully.