"Rent," which features a screenplay by Columbus and Stephen Chbosky, made its world premiere Nov. 17 at New York's famed Ziegfeld Theatre. The Revolution Studios film reunites most of the original Broadway cast, including Anthony Rapp (as Mark Cohen), Adam Pascal (as Roger Davis), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (as Angel Schunard), Jesse L. Martin (as Thomas B. "Thom" Collins), Idina Menzel (as Maureen Johnson) and Taye Diggs (as Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III). Newcomers to the company include film actress Rosario Dawson as Mimi with Tracie Thoms as Joanne Jefferson. (The roles of Mimi and Joanne were created on Broadway by, respectively, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker.)
About his decision to cast many of the original Broadway Renters, director Columbus recently told Playbill.com, "I started meeting a lot of people from the Broadway world — some really, really, talented people, some who were doing Rent at the time. And, I felt at that point I should probably meet the original cast to see if they've aged, how they look. And, I started to meet with all of them, and I found that not only had they not aged physically, but there was this thing that they carried with them, this really deep emotional, complex thing that you can't really define because of the situation they were sort of forced into.
"Because of the death of Jonathan, these people were forced to bond together in a way that I had just never seen before. There was a chemistry there that the director sometimes tries to force [actors] to create, and sometimes there's a wonderful thing that happens when that chemistry happens on screen, but it's so rare when actors don't know each other. These people [are] the first to tell you that every show that they had done after the death of Jonathan was a memorial to Jonathan. Because of that, there's a connection there and a chemistry there that you just couldn't re create. So I realized, when meeting most of them, that they needed to be in this film, and I wanted to recapture that chemistry that I saw onstage nine years ago, and I wanted a film audience to experience that."
The soundtrack for the film of "Rent" was released Sept. 27 by Warner Bros. Records and boasts "Love Heals," a song penned by Larson that plays during the final end credits of the film. The complete track listing for the two-CD set includes "Seasons of Love," "Rent," "You'll See," "One Song Glory," "Light My Candle," "Today 4 U," "Tango: Maureen," "Life Support," "Out Tonight," "Another Day," "Will I," "Santa Fe," "I'll Cover You," "Over the Moon," "La Vie Boheme," "I Should Tell You," "La Vie Boheme B," "Take Me or Leave Me," "Seasons of Love B," "Without You," "I'll Cover You" (Reprise), "Halloween," "Goodbye Love," "What You Own," "Finale A," "Your Eyes," "Finale B" and "Love Heals."
Rent updates Puccini's La Boheme to the East Village near the end of the millennium, with artists and lovers struggling to connect in a world that is chaotic, shallow and tinged with disease. The late Larson wrote Rent's book, music and lyrics. The 1996 Tony and Pulitzer Prize- winning musical continues at the Nederlander Theatre in New York City. To read more about Rent's decade-long journey to the screen Click Here. To read an interview with "Rent" director Chris Columbus, Click Here.
To view the "Rent" site, visit Click Here.