EXCLUSIVE: In a week where Lin-Manuel Miranda had the number one movie in Moana, the number one album with The Hamilton Mixtape and the top Broadway show in Hamilton, he has set a big animated film project to follow Moana. Sony Pictures Animation chief Kristine Belson has fast tracked Vivo, a film that will be anchored by 11 songs written by Miranda. Quiara Alegría Hudes, Miranda’s collaborator on In The Heights, is writing the script. The Croods‘ helmer Kirk De Micco is being set to direct. Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs Aliens) is producing and Laurence Mark is exec producer. The studio is setting a December 18, 2020 release date.
This gives Belson a coup in her efforts to double the output of the animation group over the next few years, and it also is a good reminder of how fortunes rise and fall in Hollywood. Miranda originally set Vivo at DreamWorks Animation, around six years ago when his first stage sensation, In The Heights, first got Hollywood all hot and bothered. As that musical finished its stage run and got set up for a movie with Universal, DWA moved quickly to get in business with Miranda on an original. They focused on the tale of a capuchin monkey with a thirst for adventure – and a passion for music – that makes a treacherous passage from Havana to Miami to fulfill his destiny. High School Musical‘s Peter Barsocchini originated the project.
As happens to development projects with originals, Vivo languished at DWA. Just as the In The Heights film did at Universal before it rerouted to The Weinstein Company, where Hudes was recently reengaged to write a script that Jon Chu will direct. Now that Miranda is a genius again after his groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize-winning stage musical Hamilton, everyone in Hollywood again wants to be in business again. All the while, there was this musical ready to go, with songs he had already written. It quietly made the move to Sony, where Belson is spearheading the project along with senior veep Mike Moon. WME, Liebman Entertainment and Schreck Rose rep Miranda, Hudes is WME and Objective Entertainment, and De Micco is Gersh.