At last night’s American Portrait Gala in Washington, D.C., Lin-Manuel Miranda was among those honored with a National Portrait Prize, presented to him by Michelle Obama. But that is not the important breaking Lin-Manuel Miranda news that emerged from the event.
The most important breaking Lin-Manual Miranda news, obviously, was this: that he is a major fan of Dickinson on Apple TV+.
During media interviews prior to the dinner and awards ceremony, Miranda — creator and star of Hamilton; star of HBO’s His Dark Materials; and soon-to-be director of his first feature film, an adaptation of Tick, Tick … Boom! — was asked what he wants his legacy to be. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I don’t get to choose. I get to choose what I make and, when I choose the projects, what I learn from those projects.”
That thought process led him to Dickinson.
“I’m watching Dickinson,” he said. “Is anyone else watching Dickinson?” (At this point, I said, “Yes, it’s sooo good” a little louder than necessary, while the rest of the reporters present remained silent.) “Talk about a lifelong legacy, very few of those [poems] were published in her lifetime. You just don’t have any fuckin’ control over it. All we can control is the thing we make and I’m trying to make as much stuff as possible.”
I was not able to verify whether Miranda was turned on to Dickinson because of Vulture and, specifically, my colleague Kathryn VanArendonk, though the public Twitter record certainly suggests that is the case.
Later during the cocktail reception, Miranda told us he’d only watched six episodes of Dickinson so far. When I asked why he liked it, he said, “It’s kind of my aesthetic. It’s a weird, anachronistic story that happens to be true.”
He also said it “sends him to Google a lot” to verify what’s real in the show and what isn’t.
Of course this makes complete and total sense. Sensibility-wise, Hamilton and Dickinson live in the same theater-television universe. Naturally, it would be up Miranda’s slightly-alternate-history alley.
Bottom line: We at Vulture are happy to welcome Lin-Manuel Miranda into our Dickinson appreciation club that we lovingly call Dickheads. At our next meeting, Lin, please bring your favorite Emily Dickinson poem to read and, if possible, a charcuterie plate to share.