Ben Platt’s The Politician character was inspired by a Parkland school shooting survivor

The Pitch Perfect and Dear Evan Hansen actor revealed that he took inspiration from teen activist Cameron Kasky while preparing for his role in Netflix's dark high-school comedy

Ben Platt and Cameron Kasky (Getty Images)

Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt has revealed that his character in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming dark comedy The Politician is based on a teenage activist and Parkland school shooting survivor.

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Speaking at the London premiere of the Netflix series, Platt said that while researching the role he was “inspired” by teenager Cameron Kasky, a survivor of last year’s mass shooting at at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who went on to co-organise the March For Our Lives campaign against gun violence. 

Platt, who performed at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington last year, leads The Politician cast in the role of Payton, an overly-ambitious high-school student with dreams of becoming President of the United States.

Speaking on Monday night (16th September), he said that in order to prepare for the part he “watched a lot of speeches of people I consider to be very galvanising and… [have] mastered the curation of their identity”.

I think Payton is really brilliant at having something feel organic and feel authentic and have it be entirely fabricated. And so I think not just politicians, but people in the entertainment business, people whose job it is to sort of sell themselves, I was very inspired by.

“Additionally I found a lot of inspiration in this young man, in Cameron Kasky, who is one of the Parkland school shooting survivors, who became a really important voice in the gun control conversation in America,” the Tony-winning actor continued. “Purely — he’s far more a kind and empathetic person than Payton, [but a] very intelligent, eloquent 18-year-old kid who is involved in a major political conversation, and so to see a person that young and charismatic hold themselves that well in that kind of public eye and talking about something that politically charged was a really amazing jumping-off point for the character.”

Directed and written by Murphy, the series co-stars Oscar winners Jessica Lange and Gwyneth Paltrow, and has already been commissioned for a second series.

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The Politician is released on 27th September on Netflix