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Interview

Brian d’Arcy James on His Return to ‘Hamilton’: ‘It’s Incredible’

Brian d’Arcy James on His Return to ‘Hamilton’: ‘It’s Incredible’
Photo Source: Jordan Matter Photography

Three-time Tony nominee and “Spotlight” SAG Award winner Brian d’Arcy James is currently reprising his King George III eight times a week to sold-out audiences in “Hamilton,” a role he originated in the hit musical’s Off-Broadway run. Our Facebook Live interview on April 20 covered his anticipated return to the stage, his secrets to auditioning, and his latest film and TV projects, including Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why.”

Wearing the crown again is ‘incredible.’
“Being there at the beginning was very exciting. To be able to come back with a footprint in it before and having experienced [the ‘Hamilton’ world] it is very interesting because people know it now and there’s a possession that is occurring. People have worked very hard to get there and they’re very excited to be there. And then when they see it, all the expectations are met, if not surpassed.” 

Emotional diversification is necessary.
“Most actors want to have an experience doing as much as they can in terms of exploring their range, and to be able to go from a comedy like ‘Something Rotten!’ or being a part of ‘Hamilton’ with that comic relief element, and then to do something that is much more serious [like ‘13 Reasons Why’] is definitely the ideal version of how I imagine a career should go. I feel very lucky.”

Actors should audition as often as possible.
“It’s important [for actors] to be persistent. It’s important to just get yourself out there as much as you can and to have the experience of auditioning so that [it] becomes second nature and you’re not relying on that one audition to get you the job. Every time you audition, you’re going to get better and then you’re going to get a job. Doing that is extremely valuable.”

Research is more important than charm.
“[For me] to get an offer for something is quite an extraordinary thing, but it’s not the order of the day. You always have to audition. Depending on what it is, you want to figure out who’s doing it and familiarize yourself with the studio or the people who are producing it or directing it. Then the more important work, obviously, is understanding what the role is and where it’s set. You need to understand the basics of what you’re doing. You can’t just waltz in expecting your charming personality to be the thing that wins.”

Does d’Arcy James memorize his sides?
“I still have conversations about [this]. I have come to the point where I have my sides in my hand and I memorize my lines. I have a grasp on the information and the scene so that I can actually be in the moment and do a good job. But also, [the sides] are a little advertisement saying, ‘This isn’t the polished version of this.’ ”

He auditioned for Aaron Sorkin to land the upcoming ‘Molly’s Game.’
“You know in ‘Pulp Fiction’ where they open the box and it glows and you don’t know what’s in there? That’s what [Sorkin’s sides] are like. You get the sides and they just glow with that Aaron Sorkin light.” 

To hear more from d’Arcy James, watch the full interview on Backstage’s Facebook page! 

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