Lin-Manuel Miranda is the most in-demand songwriter in Hollywood right now, thanks to successes like Hamilton. But what if there was a project of his that predates Hamilton, yet no one ever saw or heard? A musical stuffed with Miranda songs that sat on the shelf due to delays and studio shifts? Something we’re only NOW about to hear, and without the need for a movie ticket? It’s real, and it’s Vivo.
Vivo was originally a Dreamworks production that began in 2010, only to be abandoned….then picked up by Sony Animation, completed, and targeted for a 2020 theatrical release, which obviously didn’t happen. The film was sold to Netflix early this year.
Vivo lives in Havana, Cuba, the pet of musical composer Andres. One afternoon Andres discovers a poster hyping a singer named Marta, whom he immediately recognizes as a former lover. Thrilled that the singer hit it big, Andres reveals to Vivo that he never fell out of love with Marta and that one of his songs was written just for her.
Vivo decides that Marta needs to hear this song! He stuffs himself in a suitcase and hitches a ride to Miami, Florida where Marta is singing. And that’s when he tumbles out of the bag to meet its owner, Gabi, an overenthusiastic young girl in bohemian clothes whom you can be certain Vivo is about to enter a buddy comedy situation with.
But what about Andres? Well, he disappears from the trailer the moment Vivo leaves, and the only other time you see him afterward is in a photograph that Vivo lays a rose next to, so….we have a bad feeling about his fate.
A lot of people are going to assume Vivo is a monkey, but he’s actually a kinkajou, a tree-dwelling, prehensile-tailed mammal from Central and South America. You don’t see many kinkajous in animation…maybe Vivo will raise awareness much like Timon did for meerkats back in the 90s.
Vivo stars Miranda himself as the title character, Ynairaly Simo as Gabi, Juan De Marcos as Andres and Gloria Estefan as Marta. Don’t miss this one when it hits Netflix August 6.