Despite the fact that Ben had originated the role on Broadway, fans didn’t think he could believably play a high schooler at 27.
While Ben was candid about his feelings toward the harsh critique at the time, he now says that the experience opened his eyes to how awful people can be.
“[The movie] was definitely a disappointing experience, and difficult, and it definitely opened my eyes to the internet and how horrific it can be,” Ben said in an interview with the New York Times.
He continued, “You’d think, after doing Dear Evan Hansen onstage for four years, I would have already known that.”
Ben says the backlash forced him to leave Twitter, which he admits “is almost exclusively for tearing people down.”
“I wasn’t getting anything positive, and it’s been really nice to be away,” Ben shared.
And while he wasn’t pleased with the public’s reaction to the movie, Ben says he tried his best to focus on the nice things fans were saying.
“I try my best to focus on people who tell me it was moving to them and they really felt seen by it,” he said. “It is very easy for the good to get drowned out by the bad.”