Spit happens, and when you’re King George in “Hamilton,” it happens a lot.
Following the release of “Hamilton” last week, actor Jonathan Groff was crowned king of the movie’s meme-able moments when those streaming the film became especially transfixed on his stream of spittle. Even “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda seemed to give viewers a heads up:
Like Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast,” Groff’s King George is now a Disney character who’s especially good at expectorating. And for those wondering why the film included close-ups of Groff’s spit-takes, that’s just how the actor performs.
Thomas Kail, director of both the stage and screen versions of “Hamilton,” recently commented on meme-makers salivating over Groff’s saliva to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, saying he didn’t know the internet would be “so excited” about it. He added that it was a good representation of the actor’s performance.
“It felt to me like this entire endeavor was about trying to memorialize and honor this show and this company. If you looked at all the takes that we had from Jonathan, that was not the least amount, and it was definitely not the most that he would do. But it felt like an amount that was indicative and representative of how he performs,” Kail said.
Groff himself has reflected on his on-stage spittle multiple times.
While talking to Vulture in 2009, the actor said, “I don’t know what it is. I guess I have a lot of saliva in my mouth. I actually don’t think about it too much, unless I’m in a good scene with someone and I can see it hitting their face.”
The actor explained his expectoration even more to Variety in late 2019, saying it became a bit of a challenge while doing an off-Broadway production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” He was so close to the audience that they were in the “splash zone,” as Variety put it.
“I spit a lot on stage. I’ve always been a spitter. I get wet when I act. It’s just what happens. I start sweating,” he said, explaining his co-star even thought he was taking saliva pills. He was not.
“It felt like a problem at first,” he said of spitting on audience members, “and now I don’t care anymore.”
The man spits the truth.