Lin-Manuel Miranda was always destined for greatness if you ask his father, Luis Miranda.
The father-son duo spoke to PEOPLE ahead of the release of their HBO documentary Siempre, Luis, which follows Luis's life from a Puerto Rican immigrant to a committed activist for Latino rights.
Luis, 66, tells PEOPLE he's proud of all of his children—which includes daughter Luz Miranda-Crespo—but that he could see Lin-Manuel's talent from an early age.
"I am proud of my kids all the time and they amazed me all the time," says Luis. "With Lin-Manuel, a moment that I remember that both my wife and I were so proud [of], he was at Hunter Elementary School and they had been invited to sing—he was like 7, 8 years old—they had been invited to sing at one of those morning shows with the chorus of the school."
He continues, "And I remember seeing him when the camera was on him for a couple of seconds and telling my wife, 'This kid is going to be a star. I really want him to be a lawyer, but he is going to be a star.'"
Luis's instinct was right as his son went on to create two massive Broadway musicals starting with In The Heights and, later, Hamilton.
As for Lin-Manuel, 40, he says he's recognized more of his father in himself even as he once thought "dad's so different from me."
"I think as I've gotten older, I've actually realized how similar we are," the Marry Poppins Returns star says. "He's highly sensitive. And he gets just as nervous and stressed out for things as I do. But he's got a courage that supersedes that. And I think he stands so firm in his own beliefs and I'm a little in awe of it."
There are also similarities between his father and the character of Alexander Hamilton that the playwright and composer has recognized.
Says Lin-Manuel, "The thing that I think I wrote into Hamilton that I don't do nearly enough of in my own life is he accomplishes something and goes, 'OK, checklist, what else can I be doing?'"
The next generation of Mirandas might also have destined greatness as Lin-Manuel recalled attending one of his son's Halloween parades at school. The actor shares two sons, Sebastian, 5, and Francisco, 2, with wife Vanessa Nadal.
"Where all the other kids were just kind of waving for their parents, my kid dressed as lion remained in character, licking his paws, trying to bite the other children," says the proud dad. "And I said 'All right, this kid commits to the bit. I get it.' And I don't know if he's going to be a star, but he certainly commits to whatever his imagination has placed in front of him."
He continues, "But, I think the hardest thing to do, and I think something my parents did a great job at is instill empathy. You can't do anything, you can't aspire to anything unless you can put yourself in someone else's shoes and understand where they're coming from and how they see the world. And so that's the great task of parents is to instill a sense of empathy in your children for the people around them."
Siempre Luis is now streaming on HBO and HBO Max.
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