Lin-Manuel Miranda’s artistic career is hotter than ever right now – and with fair reason. The Pulitzer-Prize winning actor/songwriter has picked up several awards over the past year for creating the runaway smash hit Broadway stage musical Hamilton (which he also starred in, during its original run) and wrote the songs for Disney Animation’s critically-acclaimed animated musical adventure, Moana, that is currently playing in theaters. Miranda isn’t resting on his laurels either; in addition to working on a new Disney animated movie with Zootopia co-director Byron Howard, Miranda is also gearing up to costar in Disney’s upcoming sequel Mary Poppins Returns and is developing songs for the movie and TV adaptation of The Kingkiller Chronicle book series.
On top of all that, there’s yet another animated film musical that features songs written by Miranda on the horizon. The project in question is Vivo, a movie that has been in development for several years but is only now being fast-tracked. Vivo is being developed by Sony Pictures Animation with a 2020 release date target, after having previously been set-up as a DreamWorks animated feature, back around 2010.
Deadline is reporting that Sony has settled on a December 18th, 2020 theatrical release date for Vivo, spacing it out about a month from the untitled Disney animated film that is currently slated to arrive over the Thanksgiving frame, that same year. Vivo was written by Quiara Alegría Hudes – Miranda’s collaborator on his other award-winning hit stage musical, In the Heights – and tells the story of a music-loving capuchin monkey who sets out on an adventure that takes him from Havana to Miami, in the pursuit of his dreams. Vivo will be a full-blown musical too, as Miranda has written a total of eleven songs to be featured in the film.
Vivo is being directed by Kirk De Micco, a filmmaker who made his directorial debut on a very different sort of animated movie about non-human primates – in the form of 2008’s sci-fi/comedy Space Chimps – before he found greater critical acclaim as the co-director on DreamWorks Animation’s 2013 prehistoric family adventure, The Croods. Micco was going to return as co-director on The Croods 2 before the animated sequel was formally cancelled by DreamWorks just back in November of this year. The opportunity to work on an animated musical that boasts songs by Miranda is one that many filmmakers would no doubt like to have; which is to say, Micco is in a good position to make a solid rebound from The Croods sequel being shut-down during pre-production.
As for Miranda: those concerned that the hard-working musical superstar is pushing himself too hard right now can take comfort in knowing that he has already completed the heavy-lifting (translation: the song-writing) on Vivo, at this stage. While Miranda no doubt has additional work to do on the animated musical, he should still have enough time (and energy) to continue focusing on the many other upcoming projects – which, lest we forget, also includes Disney’s live-action The Littler Mermaid (which Miranda is helping out on) – that are currently on his plate.
Vivo opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2020.