Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical, which came before the indie project known as Hamilton, is headed to the big screen. Starring Anthony Ramos (A Star Is Born, Hamilton), the story of a bodega owner living in New York’s Washington Heights will hit theaters in summer 2020. Here’s what we know about the highly-anticipated musical adaptation so far.
What is In the Heights about?
Based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Broadway musical, the film follows Usnavi (Ramos), a bodega owner with big dreams and a difficult decision to make regarding his store in Washington Heights. When his grandmother passes away, he inherits a sum of money, which he contemplates using to retire to the Dominican Republic. Miranda originated the role in the stage production, which won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
“It’s a story of a block that was disappearing,” Usnavi tells a group of neighborhood children.“In the barrio of Washington Heights, the streets were made of music.” Taking place over three days in a largely Hispanic neighborhood, the story also explores immigration, alluded to with a reference to dreamers in the trailer.
At a special screening of the trailer, director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, Step Up 2: The Streets) described the film as “a beautiful story about change,” per Variety. “You can’t change the world if they don’t want to change, but never underestimate the power of planting a seed. I believe that this movie is an amazingly beautiful seed that can change a lot of minds.”
Who is involved in the movie?
Joining Ramos and Miranda, who will play Piraguero, the owner of a piragua stand in the neighborhood, is an ensemble cast including Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera , Leslie Grace, Jimmy Smits, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Stephanie Beatriz, and Dascha Polanco. Quiara Alegria Hudes and Marc Klein wrote the screenplay.
When will it be released?
Warner Bros. will release In the Heights on June 26, 2020, following a bidding war over the film’s rights. The Weinstein Co. was originally set to distribute the film, but the rights reverted to Miranda following sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the company’s subsequent bankruptcy in 2018.