It’s been quite the week for Lin Manuel-Miranda, who has worked on not only the #1 movie in the country (Moana), but he also has the top Broadway play with his smash hit Hamilton, and the best-selling record in the country with the Hamilton Mixtape. The actor/writer/composer has been more sought-after than ever, signing on to star alongside Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, and composing the music for The Little Mermaid remake alongside Alan Menken. Today we have word that he has added yet another project to his burgeoning slate, the animated musical Vivo for Sony Pictures Animation.
Deadline reports that Sony Pictures Animation has set a December 18, 2020 release date for Vivo, which is currently the only movie set for release on that date. Sony Pictures Animation had previously set an untitled project for release one week earlier, on December 11, 2020, but it’s possible that date will be taken off the calendar now that Vivo has been announced. Lin-Manuel Miranda will write 11 original songs for Vivo, with his In the Heights collaborator Quiara Alegría Hudes writing the screenplay. Kirk De Micco has been set to direct, with Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs Aliens) producing and Laurence Mark (Dreamgirls) serving as executive producer.
Ironically, project was originally set up at DreamWorks Animation, where Kirk De Micco was slated to co-direct The Croods 2 with Chris Sanders, before the company cancelled the animated sequel. The project was first set up six years ago, when Lin-Manuel Miranda was coming off his hugely successful Broadway show In the Heights. The story follows a capuchin monkey with a thirst for adventure and a passion for music, as he makes a treacherous passage from Havana to Miami to fulfill his destiny. The plot originated from a story by Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical).
Vivo ended up languishing in development at DreamWorks Animation, even though the songs were already written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. With the phenomenal success of Hamilton, Sony Pictures Animation’s new chief Kristine Belson brought the project to the studio, where she will oversee the project with the studio’s senior vice president Mike Moon. No details have been given for any of the supporting characters in Vivo quite yet, and with four years left until this hits theaters, it may be quite some time before we get any concrete details to go on. Still, with Lin-Manuel Miranda behind it, many may already be marking their calendars for December 18, 2020.
Around the same time that Vivo was taking shape at DreamWorks Animation, Universal was spearheading a feature film adaptation of In the Heights, although that also languished at the studio. The Weinstein Company has since picked up the project, with Quiara Alegría Hudes writing the screenplay and Jon M. Chu directing. Lin-Manuel Miranda also wrote two original songs for last year’s box office blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens and composed additional music for the film as well. He also recently teamed up with Moana star Dwayne Johnson for a YouTube production entitled Millennials: The Musical, and he is also producing The Kingkiller Chronicles for Lionsgate.