Ben Platt on 'Politician', 'Dear Evan Hansen' and 'Pitch Perfect'

The actor talks to Peter Travers about going from the stage to the screen.
20:57 | 10/18/19

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Transcript for Ben Platt on 'Politician', 'Dear Evan Hansen' and 'Pitch Perfect'
Slash everybody I am Peter Travers this is popcorn where we tell you with pop and in the culture and there's a show now on that what's called the politician. Which I watch obsessively. Lumps are that's that's weight what so that's just the way it is the do's and my guess today's Ben Platt who. Stars. Is the politician but there's a lot of people in the show. That it might be politicians. Precisely and then you might know from Deere and enhance and you might know from watching him pitch perfect movie. You know if you're like ten years old and yet yet done so much. And your your album yes. I mean how do you do all you have a life. I try to eliminate trying to find the pockets of time in between things and really it's protect them at all costs and try not to let them get. Permeated by a it's sort of like them. The side products of other things and really try to. Take those moments but certainly not right now there's not a lot of them because evidence kind of coming to a head wants but it's all wonderful stuff. I remember seeing you are concert at that beacon theater. Back in thanks for his. Me yes it was bad idea to do that. And to do that and to come off a run in that showed that is for those people that got to brought wait to see Newton is. Six people's own most. Mean you can't do it and I just kept thing that's deep. It not quite yet how is it possible. It was it does require that a kind of turn the volume down and everything else in life and just really. Live in service of doing that January 9 in as far as I was taking care of myself physically mentally emotionally. Sleep food supplements. And physical therapy all that jazz. I'm so glamorous and no one don't you wanna do this. Why take the role as specialists and then in an instant really wouldn't make you want to make the sacrifices then and you know I'm always want to go back to the stage and for hopefully have the opportunity to do that a lot of life but. It's the kind of thing that you need to kind of take a step away from I think is it's not sustainable way. Who have consistently live just. If you have to kind of thing about everything else for love it. What you have to cut and what you're doing to me strikes me as a real Intel can move. To play somebody like you do in the politician he Peyton is not an enhancements certainly in there are times we're really you just go. Exactly. Just that Bulger has it and I glide OS Illinois. He has money didn't privilege. Everything else but you describe them when you first. When Ryan Murphy and contacted Yoon said. We do in this theories that politician and you probably said mine mine whom I'm. I but hardly a hit. I glee was very Foreman and in my upbringing in high school so I've always been I'm glad you're here in Trenton and he pitched it to me very much leading with what you said which is. I think Phoenix's departure and as an actor certainly and that an enhancement and that's exactly what is looking for it and know what form that would take but. Something that would stretch mean entirely different direction but still utilize. Some of the skills that I love to use the vastly singing and and sort of vulnerability in plain humanity and someone who's been an anti heroes. So Ryan is very Smart and saying this is someone you know ego maniacal Sosa profit tendencies is ambitious he is. Takes up space and error doesn't wanna sing in this chair and apparently it happened as a for me was like the perfect kind of scary like news stomach flip that you look for as a factory like that's not something I've ever seen myself do but. Want it that's great I'm up of the Iraq while are as you think it had exactly. It out because sometimes playing confident. It's hard. As UAW I think front you don't feel that ran in nine starts certainly it does my first foray with TV and Ryan has a very well oiled machine and people who know very well what they're doing an extraordinary actors all over the place clip out thrown Jessica Lange and you know Zoe Joyce and Bob Taliban and so I you know it was a scary. Thing to start tonight certainly wasn't always feeling the way the patent has but I think. Be having to rise to the occasion for matier in for Ryan kind of forced me to find that sort of pump business and I think. What was the most intriguing thing about him to you. I think how deeply he is able to feel when it works for him is really intriguing to me because I think it's very easy to look at a character and think what both sees sociopath tendencies meaning like. He can't really feel anything and he does everything is kind of glazed over for him and that's really not the case if if it's on the and it's affecting his rise or his you know. His ability to to reach his goals than he can feel jealousy can peeling you can feel devastated he can feel all these things. So that was really I think to me but then when he's being asked if field for someone else before himself or if instead of his own gain or advocates in the way of what his dream is for himself. Economies that sort of thing that's this bout is dry it's it's that kind of dichotomy is that really fascinating to me. Well because we're seeing him being spewed person in the beginning of the show who has. Basically can't feel in what he's doing a good job at faking it very. Very Coca which is a lot of way. Who cut through life through it and we all do that there can't do it you have to fake it to do it especially if you're running for office else it's in this is high school evening but he thinks. I think it's run by the same principles 100% again well what I love about the show is that you sure kind of talked about before is you. Get to see him while he's still being molded into a person's just beginning to figure who is so that now and we if you get to the end of the season as you have find out that we are gonna move well beyond high school right away. It's very fascinating to see this world in this tone in this guy kind of picked up out of that very specific space and see how they fare is there a plan to go it. X number of seasons with him. I mean I think it all very much dependent on how people responding of course you know I'll come out as there does it fit it. We definitely have a second that we're starting to to make later this month I think in Arden. Dream world in like you're the perfect world that the concept has always been I think five seasons. Ending in either the attaining of the presidency or lack their. But. We'll see how part again. Starts he's too well let's take a look at you as Kate let's make that screen just turn it could it to the public and the president of the United States. That doesn't eat a hot job everyone aspires to nowadays. Here are a possibility has been removed. Yes I have a dream I was seven year resulting Larson I spent my entire life studying the lives of former presidents or to identify common experiences and traits that. Let's of their inevitable election victories so chance while going back as far as Ronald Reagan because as far as I'm concerned he created the modern presidency the presidency of television. And celebrity. People like to think of their president's characters they see on TV must never actually seen them in their life. Reagan and bush senior both presidents of their senior classes in high school and giants soon you're on your way to accomplish I believe I have the election well in hand yes. It's the most depressing piece of comet hit her. But keep the line about the air of impossibility being removed. It certainly has time capsule wordy I think to deepen its. Do you think so what do you feel when you see yourself on Korey. Hall. Well I've sort of been desensitized to this particular project now because we've been promoting and drug scene it with a number of audiences and in the number of different situations but. Usually it's very difficult because you're nitpicking you know what shots today its use and how as a coming across and I wish I had known to turn this Lynne and wish I had you know. Why is my suit writing up my shirt like Littleton little things like that it's hard to get out the minutia moment this particular show. When we will all watch it together for the first time Brian had us over to watch the binge the whole thing once it was finished. I found that the world was engrossing enough that I could kind of zoom out. Enough to stop kind of over analyzing myself and actually enjoyed the piece as a peace and wants the storing get sucked into the twists and the turns and that bodes well I think for me and for this show but that's only never my favorite activity to watch myself. When you grew up in this this thing until you always have rounded right poets from the deck in my in my dad's in the business producer and yet he's in the this he's mark I. So little shows on Broadway and occasional La La land now being in the evening with Little League needs Brian. So that it was very normal I think the best part of that is that it's all been very normalized for me so I never had the hurdle of like. You know being nervous about the logistics of it are the people or the like sort of theme of all of that it's just that felt like kind of normal. Situation so that I can focus moron like an immigrant and when did you think he wanted to do. For as long as I can remember having any kind of autonomy Ehrlich you know actual consciousness I asked her thing was like six fizzled in the commune feeder program and all my siblings it and I just really loved it and took to it and spent all of my time doing shows my backyard and and it was all I really wasn't didn't during and then I started working when I was nine years old as my first jobs when you wait till now re yeah particular minutes it'll season play Oliver. Basically differences and there. They had to do all of that being Ford and where you encouraged by her parents who did that yes I mean I think. Of course knowing what the businesses my dad never would wish that upon his sound it's a lot of rejection and it's not an easy life well that's what this is usually is 90% of its but I think it's indices and my mom saw that I had. An ability to pack up how much eleven of nationalism they were incredibly. Support. I read somewhere that you had done. The music man where you went for us now the first India could Q and did you do that little it of course and repent you. If that wealth far away from the for both groups without legal opinion. Firstly. It if it ain't. Anchors and settlement there McCormick it was a great the home cook is nobody's Eugenia talking you know that's it in here. Jessica what occurred after Oscar winners coming out if he's now feel intimidated and our. According grown really can you. Less so by fame and by sort of note rise anymore by suggest how well versed are fantastic there in their veterans are on camera acting in their their the movie stars of them. You know I'm I'm being sort of charged with leading this show him leading the pack leading the story and I wanted to be worthy of that. Created characters interesting enough to be become a focal point of all things. Incredible actors and relationships and so I think if anything it was a good intimidation of sort it would force me to bring my a game. But you don't lot of people who did pitch perfect and you did the sequel you've got. And base added that people loved your calf. You did magic he's just. A cappella everything that was there you have any fear. About when you were doing and he's he's just relax and I think what was. Nice about that particular experiences that it was Jayson more directing and then he came from the theaters well so he spoke to me in a way that I felt really comfortable and I could understand and and it made that transition to on camera a lot easier I think and the fact it was a musical film and we cut scenes were performing on stage and that was so much like comfort zone. And it felt like a really nice way to transition I don't think I really thought about there. Sir offend its notoriety or anything because it was such a small movie when meat and it was this little thing. I'm here camp that we made in Louisiana where we made this tiny little strange movie doc how we had no idea they would constantly. And it just kind of became a pleasant surprise from there and it went there was another and most importantly brought me to book Mormon which was an unbelievable experience and allowed me and Davey O'Brien who has had always been entry. So I'm very grateful for yeah. Look at that here enhancement book of Mormon such small play he would do it yet but it's is that often beyond its just really. I like to start small. No the what happened with you and gear and Hanson is. Doesn't have an offer to them and when people saw you and including myself you go like this well. Who is that no was he from pitch per yes but there's something about Evan Hansen that almost went to the lifetime of it you are. You were what 23. When we started developing in Arizona a 21 and then by the end of experience with 24. So that it when I'm talking about the politician and what you're doing it as good and as exhilarating. Experience that. That can sometimes be an albatross for sure it can be is this hanging over my head totally and are they gonna say not as good as we want. And then. I mean a 100% I always say that it was sort of like many 9%. The greatest blessing of my entire life and 1% occurs because it's that you become synonymous. What that one person and people think you are that very anxious kid with a broken arm and it's it's just you then there's no separation and certainly there are pieces of him that I I have but. I was really eager to depart in several ways and I think the combination of this character Payton their ranks and new with and also the opportunity to write my own music and start performing as my own pop artist sort of free from character. Was a really nice way to move forward from that experience. That is a good and it's a great album and you know yeah I think it means that yes indeed stamp whom. Seemed to me it's that sort of to mean means a couple things that means rather than try to explain coming to me verbally or try to get me to understand the pragmatic views in the thick of it just lets me music about it. And also. It kind of Austin there's a lot of music particularly popular music right now that focuses on a lot of things other than the music and lyrics on the singing and I just wanna be album to be like I don't really have a lot of bells and whistles to show you all I really have is the singing so oh other than rather than give you all those things element to sing tunes. And it worked. And it makes and you do get to be separate from attack there you can make the characters have your own life they're not all use it we asked for sure you know their pieces of all things that I. The come from my own experiences and that's what they do then do what was it is the song is my mind would lose fifteen to you is a public coming out people would say all. My god. You know when that didn't happen to your friends are the people in your life. This is a no shot at them. Yes exactly I mean it was this kind of dichotomy it's like I I of course wanted to be honest and very specific about all the experiences that as depicting but I also. I'm of the camp that we're and beyond the point of needing any kind of announcement where that's concerned earned sort of like. You know moment of revelation I think it should just become an assumed part of people's identity. Which I think is one thing the real of a politician is that. Sort of aquarius of the characters is rampant throughout the peace and is never commented on or isn't a source of trauma for anyone it's just sort of colors the relationships because it can't agree. Fluid this executive power she thinks that it's you don't really have to say your anything exactly you can be you. And this is the way it is exactly their relationship with someone it's you know your political partner and something you're gonna Hanley relate to because of the same personality and she's a woman and you release it was a man who has all the empathy you never had and you're fascinated by him because he can feel all the things you can't and doesn't really have anything to do with the fact that one's wounds meant. When they wanted you to sing and the politician with that something you war. Happy to do. Yes. I think I was very. Careful as was Ryan to make sure that it felt like that sort of accented moments and like it part of the character and organics that character and that there is reason enough and that's why I think there are so few moments and we really wanted to make them count as opposed to continually in each episode of ruling in recently on joining me to rivers is completely into growth in organic to what's happening in that very disheartening we have -- and all young people say to me that's a great song that they wrote for the for the other. We'll now on hand thank you must Callahan joining doing Joni. Joni and then unworthy of your love right so from the at the assassins of course and then you get village hall which is all good and did merrily we roll along with me that you're making I'm really resentful at this I don't know Bobby get. When you finish doing elixir but I think it's going to be Rick Rick linkletter and twenty years in the making. Yes eighteen I think is that proper number we're gonna follow the exactly Tony 18 am Mike I hate Arafat. What outwards on of this is good follow the literal map of the peace from I think it's 57 to our thinking and some like 75. And so were we were going so like if there's you know three years between sequences will wait three years to shoot things for years we wait for years if there's lonely ones like Belinda. Exactly except yes there's Ari such a road map in the peace. Which a lot of people I think. You know we've known merely role on the musical theater community knows the show but there are a lot of people hearing just the part about the eighteen years and the link clintons and exciting and of itself because boy it's a brilliant but I think. Not a lot of people understand what an amazing marriage of concept of this particular piece that isn't how it kind of solves initiative the pieces always had. And somehow with there's always. And issues with it when it's presented anyhow because people say this book isn't working. And yet it's one of the great Stephen sondheim's importantly of all crimes. I'm wishing you all luck that that candidate that you have your friend means nothing in it with you my best friends since we were fourteen really yes and we've always considered ourselves early in the area we've talked about we wanted to play throw in Mary and that's just a little scared it's ridiculous I think the same time a lot of fun that's. Unbelievable and the when they pitched me when that Rick link later and Jonathan Mark Sherman is the co consumer and preserve the peace. Fits it to me they allowed me to admit they knew right away the one Indian means together but they told me first and they let me be the one to call her and tell her and she just first was very mad additionally please don't latest joke on me this is an Heidi. No but I swear to you this is a real 100% real I just sat down with them I looked them in the united thome eighteen years he told me you and me. So it's it's all very heady if anything it's just. You would be kid you and me. It's happening it's really happening reuse it really and you shot that first part we shot our time yet. Which is accident and relativity to eyes you have to wait to hear in your forties to you do Franklin jeopardy I know yeah well liked to kind of crept their huge cookies if you gotta. There's something about that flow challenging and fascinating today that and in that environment but this stay well. And you know. Staying well best practice he'd I don't know what your regiment is the key to. Healthy and ready to go but keep doing and management are we have to have a couple of questions from a world outside of fabulous know what they think. Com he said yes it's nurse she says do you have any plans to return to Brazil for cops many fans expect this. They select creditor I don't know what I would expect that there's never been anything about I think I went for the first time for the press for the politician and I loved being there I mean I I've never done any extra US. Show any kind other than one concert in London but eventually I'd like to be touring. All sorts of places so I'd welcome to visit all right he said there that can happen let's see what's next. G 81 to webinar you already thinking about working on a new album. Yeah I mean I'm I'm always. Finding pockets of time to work with corridors and write new stuff I think that the question is always is that a song that is a standalone song like the song rain that I released last month or is it starting to feel like another congregation of experiences and like one piece. So I think it'll be a little wild oats for how one that I feel proud enough votes to follow the first album wouldn't let us who always thinking the always yes always reading that like there's always like six or seven songs happening. But that certainly wants economic support could fewer showed tuned grown up and your show tunes then rallies this this is the Bible all of what it is well that's how I mean I think even a pop song is only interesting when you arrive summer at least slightly different than where he begins on which is. A musical theater true one wants our. I would never throw those skill level and a well dish out. It's the first time here on. Always ends in a piece of song but just a little bit of something so what's in your head and Platt what is it. Who says it sinks and they think something just the times them. It started out like us alone. We started quiet and slow it's no surprise. And then 1 morning a little too real. We had it good things move. C and U merrily we roll along fan. Again have to wait stole off to care if it couldn't hear him on screen thing and that's only twelve but it's just a twelfth of great and that you get a little of it here I'm Ralph. Then it's a pleasure thanks for yet it's great.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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