“The idea is to make something that feels really universal and feels like a lot of people from all walks of life can identify with it and make it their own,” Justin Paul tells THR.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known together as Pasek and Paul, are no strangers to the Academy Awards. After taking home the win for best original song for “City of Stars” from La La Land last year, the duo received another Oscar nomination in the same category for “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. But for Pasek and Paul, this year’s recognition feels extra “thrilling.”
“This was a song that we were really passionate about creating…. We started working on it a year and half before La La Land was even something we were a part of,” Pasek told THR. “So especially ‘This Is Me’ and getting that collaboration with Keala Settle, who is an incredible Broadway actress who we didn’t know if she would get to be a part of the film, or if we would get to be a part of the film.”
He continued, “This felt like the culmination of many, many years against a lot of odds, and we can’t believe that the film exists in the world and Keala gets to sing the song and perform on the Oscars stage. That is so cool to us and so mind-blowing, and it feels to us like a theater-nerd win in the biggest way possible.”
Expanding on Settle’s anticipated Oscar performance of “This Is Me,” Justin Paul explained the collaboration between them and the people behind the Academy wanting to bring the song to life.
“Everybody is really exited [that] we capture the message of the song and in a way that takes what it is in the movie and brings it beyond that,” he said. “I think the idea is to make something that feels universal and feels like a lot of people from all walks of life can identify with it and make it their own, so we’re figuring out how to manifest that on stage.”