Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Here's Why Lin-Manuel Miranda Cast Michaela Jaé Rodriguez in tick, tick...Boom! 

MJ Rodriguez

Legends recognize legends.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film directorial debut, tick, tick… Boom!, is garnering considerable Oscar buzz, and it’s the musical everyone’s rushing to see this holiday season.

A big part of the movie’s buzz comes from its stellar cast, which includes Andrew Garfield as Rent creator Jonathan Larson, Oscar hopeful Robin de Jesús, Alexandra Shipp, Vanessa Hudgens, and Pose star Michaela Jaé Rodriguez. The gifted cast comes together to form one of the best ensembles all year.

So how did Manuel come to cast Rodriguez, The Advocate's Person of the Year, in the movie? He’s admired Rodriguez since long before Pose and in fact saw her perform off-Broadway in a production of Rent. Ever since he’s been a die-hard fan.

“Well, actually it was very simple,” he told The Advocate about casting Rodriguez in the role. “We were working on the screenplay for tick, tick… Boom! and Jonathan had this friend who works in the diner with him and is like a fashion designer. She designs this dress for his girlfriend. And then I was like, well, who’s the most stylish person I can think of? And that was that.”

Miranda also spoke of Rodriguez’s performance as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Pasadena Playhouse as something that stood out for him.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen the footage of [Michaela Jáe] singing ‘Suddenly Seymour,’ where she’s just slaying it,” he said. “But I just knew I wanted that energy involved. And I just think she’s kind of the whole package. She can sing, she can dance, she’s a really amazing actress. So I think the sky’s the limit. I’m really happy she was a part of our film.”

Miranda said Rodriguez was incredible to work with and was a star on set no matter who she was acting with.

“They say never meet your heroes, but she has a genuine star aura around her,” he says. “It’s like a thing you can’t teach. But the camera loves her, she’s a star.”

You can watch tick, tick… Boom! and see Rodriguez in all her glory on Netflix now. 

Tags: film, Transgender

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