tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 12, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
"eclipse" made broadway history earlier this year, becoming the first production to feature an all-female cast, director, and playwright. joining me now are the stars, lupita nyong'o, the writer, danai gurira, and the director, liesl tommy. what is the connection to the play that was put on in 2009? put on at yale. danai: it is the same play. and out of some amazing synchronicity, lupita was walking in to yale at the time. lupita: i was an understudy at the time at the yale school of drama, you get assigned to understudy, and that is the first show i was assigned.
>> we had worked on it before we got to yale and done rigorous work with the script. we were feeling very good about where we landed at yale. charlie: for the current production? >> for the current production, yes. charlie: what were you creating in your own mind? what is the story? >> the big picture story was the story about how human beings survive under untenable situations. and we are looking -- charlie: and what it is within them that enables them to survive. >> and what is specific to each individual that makes their path different from someone else's path. you are living under war, you
are living in a oppression, the circumstances are similar. but to every single woman in the play makes a different decision. you are going to make a different decision no matter where you are from. we will all do what it takes to survive. charlie: you chose not to act even though you have a highly publicized acting career. >> yes. charlie: why did you not put yourself in it? danai: i wanted to give african women opportunities. there is a dearth i saw around me all the time. i did co-perform in my first play. i knew that this was the next thing -- this was the next play i wrote -- and it was very clear to me i wanted to be outside of it.
i wanted to have the outside i and take care of the world of the self. if i am performing, my brain is working on a whole other way because i am focused on the ark rc of the character. but if i was creating a cohesive world, it was important to me that this play is where i step into being that other type of playwright, the playwright to who not perform into -- and hands it over to performers you have worked with to allow them to let it blossom and bloom. charlie: was it your decision to have an only female cast? danai: of course it was. i created it. yes. of course. charlie: i thought it might be a group decision. you created it. and you just said -- you have a commander there, that his presence is not seen. danai: what compelled me to create the play was the idea
that i could not see the stories of women and more on the continent or anywhere. i knew tons of stories about men. there were many stories about men. i could name tons of warlords. we all know who charles taylor is. i could name all of them, but i could not name the women i can now name. i could not named those women until i went to liberia and said, i am going to learn your stories so that i can tell them to the world. charlie: this story is as timely as today at this moment. danai: unfortunately, with what is happening in syria is devastating. charlie: and boko haram and what they are doing. danai: totally. we are coming up on two years this week of those girls being still in a state of abduction. charlie: who is the girl? lupita: the girl is new to this world are for. she has just recently been exposed, lost a parent, and she comes to this compound to learn what it means to be a woman at
war. she starts off with a lot of agency and goes on to immediately lose it, and her journey is one of trying to get back her agency and trying to find herself again. charlie: and she's different from the other women in the play. lupita: she's different because she has come from the city. she is somewhat educated as well. and a she, until recently, and knew exactly where her parents were. and they do want to protect her. well, one in particular, the matriarch of this compound, wants to protect her from what she knows the war can do to a woman and to her body. but unfortunately, very soon when the play starts, she is unable to do that. charlie: you told the new york times, what attracted me to both projects was the agency of those characters.
at first glance, they looked like victims, but the writing offers them complexity. they are deep. they have likes, strong dislikes, needs, if years. as an actor i am always looking for that. and this is what you two have done. this is what you have brought. you have given humanity to people we did not know. you have given a sense that they are real, and human, and while they are suffering. danai: having grown up on the continent, as we all did, coming to the united states was for me, well, for all of us, very frustrating to see how africans are often depicted. it is a very statistical depiction and having grown up very, veryave seen complex, interesting, driven, fascinating human beings. like everybody else. but they do not get that portrayal in the west.
for me as a writer, it is always a goal to create characters where, you might see this girl as a victim because that is what you see on the news, but i am actually going to give you two hours to experience her dreams and her fears and her sorrow and joy so that you cannot ever call her the other again. she has strength and she has potential. and that is what is behind the title. the idea of being eclipsed is that you are blocking light, but the light is still there. the hope is that the block is temporary. and so the blockage leaves and you see the light once again. charlie: what is the challenge of the director? liesl: there is no challenge, just joy. charlie: they did not need you? liesl: no, the challenge is, for me, it is, it was the relentless pursuit of specificity, never stopping the research so that the actors, when they step on to that stage, they are bringing a
broken heart for this country, for this history, for the political history. lives ofinhabiting the these women in this particular in this particular place. this is not a general african story, but the story yet of liberia within this window of time. and also creating a healthy environment for these women to go as far as we wanted them to emotionally and be able to walk away. charlie: how did you get there? liesl: torture. [laughter] >> rehearsal after rehearsal. charlie: were you tortured? lupita: i wouldn't call it that. i would say liesl creates an environment of pursuing your best at all times. the bar is high. and so you have to show up.
you shop in the rehearsal and -- you show up in the rehearsal and because the bar is so high, you are challenged to meet that bar. that is what was so riveting about being in that rehearsal room. there was never a day when we were just pacing it out. every moment every personal was a chance to discover something new, to ask questions, and to explore. it was very exciting and also exhausting. danai: what she does is really the thing that is so crucial to this play. you have to find a space where you are vulnerable, but you also have to be pushed to the edge and allow this environment to be quite dangerous and alive. and so liesl creates a situation where she does not let people off the hook. where she does challenge them. but she does allow them to feel very safe. charlie: have elements of a changed much since 2009? liesl: they have because i have grown as a director and become more sophisticated.
and so it has changed. i think that design elements are -- it is just that everything is sharper. charlie: and more precise. liesl: yes. always precise. charlie: this is what you said. you said, " i think both the walking dead and eclipsed ultimately asked the same question. who would you be if the world got this dire? who would you be? " danai: what i really want people to walk away from as they leave the theater is the concept of not being able to judge. a lot of times when you function as an african in the west, you have people coming up to you and throwing you horrible thoughts about what they are hearing about africa. and they are just like, people are doing this, people are doing that. and you are just like, the context is not actually something they are taking into account. they are taking threads of a headline or something sensationalized.
so the idea of putting people in this context, if you are in this war, you become someone different from who you are today. there is no way you will be who you were when things were stable, everything works right and you can dial 911. you are going to be something different when those things go away. charlie: what to do you become? danai: that is the question and that is why there are five different women on the stage who represent five very different types of responses. they all are coping differently, navigating differently, pursuing their power differently. thatalways argue that -- they are -- liesl: preserving themselves. charlie: what is different? liesl: their power is their ability to stay alive. danai: they are choosing their life. they are choosing to live and stay alive. that is something i find frustrating when i see how africans are depicted in media and narrative. you don't see them make choices. you don't see them have any sort of inner drive or strength, or perspective, or idiosyncrasy.
you just see them kind of be one or two dimensional victims. working getswe are that by allowing these characters to have personality and to respond differently to the exact same circumstances. charlie: do you believe you are changing and other things are changing -- whether it is hamilton or other plays on broadway -- changing the perception of africans and african americans and their role in history? [chuckling] danai: i cannot say yes, i'm doing that, but i can say i hope so. i hope i am contributing to that. charlie: they call it the chocolate block. danai: why not? [chuckling] >> why not? charlie: that was pascal lamont. liesl: of course it was. charlie: why do you say that? liesl: if you see the show, there is so much humor and life, and she is the source of a lot of shenanigans. charlie: so it had to be her.
[laughter] danai: it's an exciting moment. you look at lupita and what she has accomplished in a short amount of time, it's unprecedented. it is a beautiful thing. hope will something i keep happening. charlie: you have been besieged with offers. there is a huge amount of attention to you in fashion, commercials. why this role? even though you had a connection to it way back at yale in 2009. lupita: it's a role that never left me. i saw liesl and danai bring this show to life at yale, and i was so pleasantly surprised, that first of all i would have an opportunity to see such a production happen at yale. one of the things i had been warned about coming to drama school in the united states, specifically yale, was how eurocentric my program would be. and the first thing that gets
set in to me is a play africa. so, for me, that danai exists at the same time i do and that she is telling the stories that are complex, compelling, that open this liberian country to the world -- i did not know anything about liberia myself stop so how much i learned from the emotional experience of seeing her play, i thought it was a blessing and i wanted to share it with a larger world. i remember promising myself that i would somehow, someday do it. "twelve years a slave" happened and my life went into like, accelerated, i sat with myself and thought, what do i want to do next?
and "eclipsed" just kept coming back to me. something about telling a story on stage that is so powerful, i needed to get back there to remind myself what is it that i do and how is it that i have gotten to this place, and what can i do to get this story out there? charlie: what is different between the public and broadway? liesl: i think the public was a smaller space and the golden is a much bigger house. in a way, we opened up the story. it's funnier. i think we worked with actresses to make it more accessible in some ways to not downtown audiences. but you have a chance to experience the story in a more epic way because we have more physical space. charlie: a more epic way. liesl: so it's not just about these women in a compound. you get a sense of breadth.
danai: from my perspective, the show feels more dangerous because there is more room for you to fill as an actor. and because there are more people in the room, you have to work that much harder to get them all on the same page with you. it felt like, for me, my performance had to break open. it was no longer the intimacy of hearing the little sigh on the side from the audience. now i have to work to reach them and get them to reach me. charlie: what happens on june 20? doesn't it close on june 19? liesl: the actors go on a long vacation. yes. because they do work extremely hard. charlie: you start a new movie after that? lupita: please. vacation. i think i will need, i will require a vacation. danai: i will probably be in atlanta.
but, you know -- charlie: as good as that is and is popular as that is, my sense of you is that you would not be satisfied with that as your primary, total creative endeavor. danai: at the end of the day, im -- i am a storyteller and i love telling stories in any way i can. "the walking dead" is not something i took randomly. i looked at the story, i looked at the character, i looked at the world, i watched what they had already done on the screen and i was deeply interested and desirous of becoming part of it. the funny thing, the ironic thing i have said a few times is that there was this interesting parallel between that character and one of the characters i created in this play. who had it -- not lupita's character, but another character who is a woman soldier, who makes her self her own weapon to combat this hostile environment.
this war zone. when i came across this character after i had written it, i said, what is this? this looks like my character. and so the connection i feel, it's the same premise, i do feel it's a very rich story i get to tell every week on television. it is something deeply, deeply, deeply dear to me, as are the play as write, which of course are all my children. charlie: where are you going? liesl: i am working on a project for disney right now in california. charlie: a movie? liesl: no, an adaptation of the movie "frozen." charlie: i heard about that. not about frozen, but about that disney was doing this and you are doing it. liesl: so that is the next big project. charlie: i have not seen eclipsed yet, but i look forward to coming before june 19. danai: you must. you must see what lupita does because it is completely
charlie: you know, to sit here on this stage at the richard rodgers theatre, what does it mean to you? >> these are hallowed places, these theater houses. "guys and dolls" premiered here. "1776" premiered here when it was called the 46th street theatre. i am aware of the ghosts and the history. my broadway debut was on this stage. so, it was amazing to do the show for the first time here and say wait, i know this house, i have been here before. but to be here with, the latest story i have spent my life working on was really both disorienting and intimate. with the crowd, as you can see, it is a steep rake. i can look people in the eye 14 rows back. paradoxically, even though the
theater at the public was smaller, this feels more intimate to me. charlie: and you had a chance to choose where you would go. lin-manuel: yes, this was our dream theater, and it luckily opened up right before we came in. charlie: has it sunk in what is happening to you, what is happening to theater, what is happening to "hamilton"? lin-manuel: i'm talking to charlie rose. it's really surreal. but we really haven't stopped. the moment we opened, we started recording the cast album, and atlantic has been very generous in terms of -- we are taking two weeks to record. most cast albums get recorded in a day. we took our time to really get it right. my colleagues are mastering it as we speak. we have been going full bore -- there has always been something to occupy our time, so i have not really had a break since we
opened. charlie: and really have not had time to reflect. lin-manuel: not really. that is also a part of what twitter is. it's as close to a diary as -- can you believe this happened? and catching it while it happens. charlie: in the audience today -- the president of the united states. at our sixth preview. the vice president of the united states. lin-manuel: it's amazing. you have a dream version of what will happen if something goes well, and it has put my dreams to shame. actually. charlie it is huge. : beyond. lin-manuel: it is super
humbling, and when you look at the list of names who have come to see the show, i see those as an opportunity to see the show with fresh eyes as i am doing it. when dick cheney sits in the audience, i wonder what he is hearing when he hears the lyric, "history has its eyes on you." as the president is sitting here, what does he think about george washington saying i have to step down so the country can move on, as he comes to the end of his term? it gives me a new chance and a new resonance with the show and that is the challenge. charlie: do you look them in the eye? do you let them know, i see you? lin-manuel: if i can spot them. if i can spot them, i sure do. you know, we had -- gosh, who did we have? one of my favorite rappers. when we started 10 new commandments, i looked right at him. i said someone is going to get this reference. it's going to be common. we have such a love of hip-hop. we do a reference to a musical.
the last five years by robert jason brown. at the end of the reynolds affair, he says nobody needs to know. when robert jason brown came to the show, i looked right at him. he kindly gave me permission to use that song and that reference in the show. it's a treat when there are people who appreciate it in the audience. charlie: but it's not only good good acting, it is not only good music, people are saying it's transformative. lin-manuel: that's interesting to me. it certainly changes my life. because whent is great people cross our path -- and i am talking about hamilton here -- it forces us to reckon with what we are doing with our lives. when i consider that he was creating our financial system from scratch. charlie: in building a country. lin-manuel: right.
i wrote to plates. -- two plays. i'm not doing anything. i think people leave the show thinking about who we leave behind. charlie: and about their history, their country. lin-manuel: absolutely. charlie: and it gives them a new sense of what? the dynamism, the genius that came to build a nation? lin-manuel: the genius, but also, i think we take great pains to knock all these guys off their pedestal. charlie: you do. lin-manuel: this is washington, impatient and yelling, are these
the men with which i am to defend america? that's a quote. this is jefferson and hamilton squabbling. i think we are heartened by that because these guys did not get tablets and stones from a mountain top. they compromised. they made mistakes. it's an important reminder that they were as human as us. charlie: and they had no playbook. lin-manuel: they had models they were looking to. charlie: jefferson especially was inspired by the french. lin-manuel: and hamilton was inspired by the british financial system. and that turned into a fight. you are trying to bring back the monarchy. you are assessed with bloodshed -- you know, you are obsessed with bloodshed and revolution. but it's nice to know they are flawed, because our country is flawed, and we are flawed. and we take forward steps and backward steps to that more perfect union -- what a beautiful phrase that is. charlie: and like writing a great song, it doesn't happen overnight. lin-manuel: no, and we are still struggling with it. i think the audience takes away a sense of we have always been making it up as we go along. for them to see themselves in the founding fathers is both empowering and daunting. because you think this guy is
just like me. but you also think, wow, look at what they have gotten done. what have i got done? charlie: why does it resonate for all the reasons we talked about, but sitting out there, what are you feeling? why does it touch you so much more than anything anybody else can think? not just critics or famous people, real people. lin-manuel: most of that is the work of, cable. these are words on the page. charlie: the words on the page. lin-manuel: there are a lot of steps to put words on the page. tommy, he has kept his eye on everything and created an unbelievably unified production where everybody is marching in the same direction.
and created those moments we talked about where you are chasing that moment where you are both watching something and cannot believe you are watching it. tommy created a bunch of those moments in the show. he gets the credit for that because it is a lot of elements coming together to make that happen. i think the force of hamilton's life which is this whirlwind through the life of everybody he touched now extends to the audience. now, he has touched your life too instead of my life. we see where he started and where he got and where he fell. it is impossible not to be moved by that kind of story. we all aspire to do great things. charlie: do you ever imagine what might have been if he didn't take that bullet? lin-manuel: yeah, well, you know, you studied the brain with world-renowned experts and spoke to scientists so you know there is the theory of the multi-verse.
there is the universe in which hamilton lived until his 90's and our country looked very different. charlie: why do you go on a vacation, stop and see a book that changes your life? lin-manuel: pretty lucky. luck is a big part of this, too. charlie: always is. luck and timing. lin-manuel: i knew that hamilton -- this is what i knew from high school -- hamilton died in a duel with the vice president. i knew his son died in a duel. i knew he was on the $10 bill. i wrote a paper about it for 11th grade social studies. so, i knew he was -- i kind of wanted to know his mind set going into the duel. also, i read the incredible reviews on the book.
charlie: you saw that in him? saw a rap artist in him? lin-manuel: i drew a direct line between hamilton's writing and the rappers i grew up adoring. charlie: they wrote themselves. out of circumstances? lin-manuel: yes, but they also wrote about circumstances which is what hamilton did. it's lil' wayne talking about katrina and the government not doing enough. it is big e and a jay-z growing writing writing -- about growing up in the projects. it is eminem talking about growing up white in detroit. it is writing about that struggle and the paradoxical. your writing is so good it gets you out. charlie: when you read that and you learn about hamilton, you just -- lin-manuel: yeah. charlie: deep inside of me is the form he would have. lin-manuel: right. and also, you know, in that introductory, introductions of the book, you realize hamilton wrote himself. his writing was the key to everything.
hamilton wrote his way to everything. charlie: you finished the book? lin-manuel: yes. charlie: and you had to meet the author? lin-manuel: i did. i felt like i had a clear picture of who hamilton was when i finished writing the book that i wanted to talk to the author, talk to ron and say we are seeing the same guy, right? charlie: is this whole thing we see every night, six nights a week on this stage, what was already when you went to talk to ron?
lin-manuel: yes, it was starting to. i was thinking of an album first. even that was a musical theater precedent. jesus christ superstar began as a concept album. andrew lloyd webber wrote these amazing songs about the last three days of jesus' life and they were so good that you have to turn it into a show. that is what i was hoping to do with hamilton -- make the album first. charlie: all of this is going on in your head. all of these possibilities. these characters, these times. lin-manuel: the hard part was i needed to do research to really be able to write about it well. that is what historians learn. you cannot just go with the story in front of you. you have to check your sources -- charlie: you dive into research. lin-manuel: i did. not just about hamilton. ron's book was a great guide but research into burr, jefferson. and finding little things. i'm looking for the historical versions of those moments for my characters as i am writing them. for me, burr, there is a great biography. ofis called "the heartbreak raymond burr."
it is about his relationship with his wife and daughter. the other thing i learned was when he met his wife, she was married to a british officer. she was helping the revolutionaries. they were staying in her house and he stayed in touch with her. their correspondence was like a year before her husband died in georgia. he died, they were together. this is a guy who waited for this officer to die before he could properly -- so i was like, ok, this guy is comfortable waiting for his moment. that was the key insight for me. even in matters of love -- i understood he was politically cautious, but even when it came to matters of his heart, he said this woman is the woman for me. i will wait and see what happens. circumstances will just work out. charlie: he has patients many people would not have. lin-manuel: hamilton calls them out. if you love this woman, go fight for. that is what i would do. he said, no, i will wait. it will come to me. charlie: burr becomes your narrator because you need what? lin-manuel: i need several things. i need -- i need balance.
hamilton would be happy to narrate his own story but he goes on too long. charlie: in paragraphs and paragraphs. lin-manuel: burr is succinct. and also burr is the mirror , image of hamilton. he is also orphaned at a young age. he also speeds through college. go through princeton in two years at age 13. charlie: just as smart as hamilton. lin-manuel: just as smart as hamilton. but every time hamilton says go, burr says stop. he is conscious. the only difference is legacy. burr came from money. burr's father was the president of princeton and his grandfather was a famous priest. jonathan edwards. all of thisot legacy and does not know what to do with it in my version of it. he is very cautious.
the early american aristocracy. charlie: you do not necessarily know that much about burr. lin-manuel: i have to go looking for burr. charlie: he is everything you need. that is a treasure because it is everything you need for dramatic tension. lin-manuel: yes, but it is tough because it is not linear. hamilton's squabbles were with jefferson. many would say jefferson is the bad guy and he should narrate because those were the political fights. the fight with burr is one of temperament. so how do you dramatize a difference in temperament? i have a friend that gets mad about everything, but our lives -- i had to confine that to dramatize it and always show hamilton going and burr pausing. and that was very tricky. charlie: i want to talk about the characters. they are latino -- they are everything.
lin-manuel: chinese american. charlie: that is on purpose? lin-manuel: it's -- tommy said it so well that i quote him. this is a story of america then told by america now. charlie: a great line. the story of america then told by america now. lin-manuel: we are america now. this is what this country looks like. this is what our country looks like. simple as that. we are allowed to tell the story. charlie: what do you think it means to your actors? lin-manuel: i have been told what it means to our actors. charlie: you know your actors. lin-manuel: i am with them every night. it is very moving. you know, some of these actors i have known my entire adulthood. some of these actors i just met when they auditioned.
chris is as much a history buff as i am, if not more so. so, he both new and was daunted because he knew everything that represented it. he has done his homework. he read the biographies three or four times. david plays jefferson. i never felt like any of those stories were relevant to my life and my upbringing. we grew up, you know, we have all grown up in the legacy of slavery and that is our story. the story of the creation of this country is our story too. charlie: what were you looking for in casting? lin-manuel: people who could do it. that sounds simple but it is hard. charlie: why? lin-manuel: because it is a ton of language. it is easier for you to do the show if you've maybe done a little shakespeare, maybe some
chekhov because of the abundance of language. charlie: it is shakespeare in terms of how much -- lin-manuel: not in terms of quality but in terms of quantity. charlie: quantity within time. lin-manuel: and density. these are packed sentiments. charlie: you have had to have somebody that could deliver. lin-manuel: to make it feel real and to a beat. that is hard. charlie: that is music talent. lin-manuel: that is music of talent and also requires a level of expertise in terms of acting craft to make this feel spontaneous because it is heightened language. charlie: costumes is another thing. lin-manuel: absolutely. charlie: how did you conceive of that? lin-manuel: i did not. our genius paul had well. -- paul hadwell.
charlie: how did he conceive it? lin-manuel: he had a lot of conversations with tommy. tommy said, my nightmare version of this is sideways is all caps and hightops. saying, you know. yo. that is an outdated version of hip-hop. the mass market still likes to circulate it as hip-hop. it is better to create attention of the cost and in the language. charlie: between a costume and contemporary language? the tension. lin-manuel: tension is compelling and exciting. it is exciting to see someone dressed in a period specific revolutionary war outfit rapping faster than anybody. we are asking you to hold a lot of ideas in your head at the same time and we are hopefully creating a unified aesthetic that allows you to get involved and hang together. charlie: there are also references to south pacific. lin-manuel: the pirates.
the pirates of penzance. charlie: other than your brain, what is that about? lin-manuel: it's -- that is tommy's line. there are a lot of on-ramps in this show. right? if you are scared of hip-hop or thought hip-hop was not music for you, we will quote 1776. "south pacific" at you. we will give you king george who sings a british invasion style song from the 1960's. it is a showstopper. and, it is a breath where the lyrics slow down and take our time. it is the show we know how to write that kind of song. charlie: is it written with comedy in mind? lin-manuel: absolutely. with king george, i was thinking of jesus christ superstar. i was thinking of those in rdas that provide much-needed comic
les miserables." without them, it is a tough piece. what is interesting about that role -- i do not really anticipate it. it becomes the audience's surrogate. as they watch this country being formed over their eyes and the king goes you are going to change leaders? what will you do once the war is over? you will be back. he speaks to the country as if it was a girlfriend he did not treat well. it's really fun to watch the audience take his side. charlie: what is your creative process? where are you when you write all of this? what are you doing? lin-manuel: what am i doing? charlie: just sitting in an empty room?
lin-manuel: no, i'm sitting in a room with a cluttered desk, with a keyboard hooked up to my computer. often what i did with this show is i write just enough music to get a loop of a beat i like or a four-chord progression that i like. if i like it enough, i stick it in my ipod, take my dog out for a walk and listen to it and i talk to myself in the park. my dog is super patient. [laughter] doesn't care that i'm talking to myself in the park. people think i'm crazy. fine by me. i talk to myself in the character after i have done the research and know what the song needs to accomplish. i just talked to myself until it starts to fit.
charlie: alexander hamilton, what did you know about his dueling? tell me about hamilton and going into this. he had a lunch date. it is early in the morning. lin-manuel: dawn. charlie: why do you think you threw away his shot? do you believe that or is it since the something that makes your play? lin-manuel: what i came to was i'm less interested in who did what as i am of what were hamilton's final thoughts. what was going through his head based on his one friend and now enemy. the sun is rising over manhattan. the sun is rising over manhattan and we've got guns in our hands. we are facing each other in a field. what is he thinking in his final moments? i think he is probably thinking about the steps that brought him here. he writes in a letter before and says there is no way this could have been avoid. we have been circling each other for a while. it was always going to come to this. that was a big clue, was his disagreements with burr are not
the choice of words at a dinner party. this was going to happen. they are fundamentally different men. charlie: does he ever say this was going to happen? i was coming to this moment? lin-manuel: i will have him say when he is 19 and he gets to new york. and i imagine it feels more like a memory. this is where it gets me. several feet ahead of me. if i see it coming, do i run, fire my gun, or let it be? there was no beat, no melody. i had him thinking about those final moments because he is aware of it as a young child. and so when it finally comes, it is actually quiet. it is our only moment of quiet in the show. only time we don't have a beat or instruments. all you are is a little wind and it is hamilton alone with his thoughts as this bullet is coming towards him.
it is the last thing i wrote for the show. i've been writing song moment after song moment. what is the song? i wrote a draft called the time it takes the bullet to leave the gun. it was very exciting. but it was actually earned silence. charlie: i like it better. lin-manuel: i like it better too. charlie: because it is the moment. lin-manuel: that is what we hear in the final moments -- silence. charlie: his last words were? lin-manuel: i don't remember his last words. ron would know. but he died with his whole family by his side. angelica was there. she was in new york. eliza was there, the children were wailing. he died at a friends house on maiden lane. charlie: how long after the bullet entered? lin-manuel: 24 hours after so be suffered and died slow. charlie: can we talk about -- it is powerful. the songs.
do you have favorites? are those that if you've got to say i just wrote this? lin-manuel: i will tell you the creation -- now, sometimes a line enters your head and you are so grateful for it. you go online to see if anybody wrote it before you. you must've stolen it. that was true of burr's song "wait for it" which the hook came to me. i was on the way to a friends birthday party and i was listening to the loop on the train. it came to me. death does not discriminate between the sinners and the saints. it takes, takes and takes. we keep living anyway. we rise and we fall and we break and we make our mistake and if there is a reason, i'm still
alive, i am willing to wait for it. that came in one giant lump on the train to brooklyn. i went to my friends party and said happy birthday, i have to go home and do my song. [laughter] i got back on the train and wrote it on the way home. could not wait. the room where it happens is the toughest jigsaw puzzle i have ever done. i am trying to explain a very happensted thing that behind closed doors and what makes it exciting is we are telling you from the perspective of the one person who was not there -- burr. you guys traded away the capital of our country for an unprecedented plan and at a deal and dinner that none of us were at. had any say in it. charlie: the room where it happened. lin-manuel: so, it's jefferson's side of the story.
it is madison's side of the story. the capital should be here, it should be here. he says to jefferson in our song, maybe we can solve one problem with another and win a victory for the southerners. , jefferson says, wouldn't you like to work a little closer to home? it is two virginians plotting on how to get the capital close to where they are. charlie: washington rather than new york. into virginia. other songs? what is it that you think will be most remembered? lin-manuel: i cannot begin to pretend to know. i know that --
charlie: the opening number. lin-manuel: the opening number, i was very proud of having written that song and what it captured. charlie: satisfaction? lin-manuel: we said. wait for it was a big one for me because that hook is burr's but that is how i feel. we don't know why some of us live and some of us die and why some of us are born. but you know, we are lucky enough to be born where we are and have access to health care and incredible life. and some of us are born in parts of the world where none of that is guaranteed. is if there is a reason, and there a reason that we are born where we are? if there is, burr says i will wait for that reason to present itself. says, nothing is promised. i will grab everything i can while i can. charlie: are you burr or hamilton? lin-manuel: both. we are all both. that is the whole thing. i think that there are moments in our life where we step up and we take the risks when it is easier to stay home.
you don't sing 16 bars of hamilton at the white house when you could have sung by song you already know. that is the hamilton in me. it took me six years to get my show on broadway. that is the burr in me. charlie: it took you that long to get it right. lin-manuel: you can make it better. that is what we are aiming for to make the best show possible. and so, that is the weight for it. that is the burr. charlie: the moment of self-definition -- are you writer? lin-manuel: yes. you don't have to finish that. i'm a writer. i'm an actor to get my writing done. i see writing and acting as the same thing. i have to inhabit those characters. play them as fully as i can when i write down what i say. that is as simple as it is and as complicated as it is.
charlie: in the genius is writing. don't be afraid to say the word. lin-manuel: here is the thing -- if you write about geniuses, that is how i feel about hamilton. i'm writing about a genius. i'm no genius, but i'm writing and i have to write from this perspective so that looks close to the same thing. but it is not. ♪
♪ mark: you are watching "bloomberg west." let's take a look at the news. paul ryan ruled out any bid for the presidency even if his name was placed in nomination at the republican convention this summer. paul ryan: let me speak to the delegates. if no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, i believe they should only choose a person that has participated in the primary. count me out. mark: the comments come as a contested gop convention appears likely. front runners donald trump and a hillary clinton have double-digit leads according to a new wall street journal nbc news poll. trump