What genius looks like in ‘Tick, Tick ... Boom!’

Daron James

January 24, 2022

Underneath the stirring story of “Tick, Tick … Boom!” which illuminates the life of Jonathan Larson, the creator of the Broadway hit “Rent,” there’s an inspirational tale of undying hope. “It’s a story of a dreamer and someone who doesn’t give up no matter what,” says cinematographer Alice Brooks, who photographed the visceral imagery alongside director Lin-Manuel Miranda. When Jonathan (played by Andrew Garfield) finally catches his big break and is asked to present his musical “Superbia” there’s just one problem: It’s not finished. Escaping his cramped New York apartment for a swim to clear his head, he has an epiphany and figures out the missing pieces to the puzzle. Illustrating his melodious thoughts on screen are a number of musical notes that appear on the pool bottom as if sheet music was flowing from his mind and lyrics begin to float around his head.
“It’s a visual demonstration of a singular moment of genius for Jonathan,” says Brooks. “He’s finally at peace with his music and there’s this complete joy and excitement that he can go write it.”

Underneath the stirring story of “Tick, Tick … Boom!” which illuminates the life of Jonathan Larson, the creator of the Broadway hit “Rent,” there’s an inspirational tale of undying hope. “It’s a story of a dreamer and someone who doesn’t give up no matter what,” says cinematographer Alice Brooks, who photographed the visceral imagery alongside director Lin-Manuel Miranda. When Jonathan (played by Andrew Garfield) finally catches his big break and is asked to present his musical “Superbia” there’s just one problem: It’s not finished. Escaping his cramped New York apartment for a swim to clear his head, he has an epiphany and figures out the missing pieces to the puzzle. Illustrating his melodious thoughts on screen are a number of musical notes that appear on the pool bottom as if sheet music was flowing from his mind and lyrics begin to float around his head.
“It’s a visual demonstration of a singular moment of genius for Jonathan,” says Brooks. “He’s finally at peace with his music and there’s this complete joy and excitement that he can go write it.”