Header Ads

Why In The Heights Took So Long To Become A Movie | Screen Rant

Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical In the Heights debuted on Broadway in 2008, but here's why it took so long to hit the big screen as a movie adaptation. After earning thirteen Tony Award nominations that year, In the Heights won four of those awards, including Best Musical. Miranda had played the lead role of Washington Heights resident Usnavi de la Vega during the show's Broadway run and worked to pitch the movie idea for several years. Now, thirteen years later, the musical has been brought to life as a feature film under the direction of Jon M. Chu and has been distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. In addition to its theatrical release, In the Heights is also available for streaming on HBO Max.

Based on the screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes, In the Heights highlights a group of neighbors in a community on the brink of change. With new references to immigration issues and gentrification, the modernized narrative features Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) as he tries to make a living as a bodega owner and longs to return to the Dominican Republic. Within his inner circle are Benny (Corey Hawkins), Nina (Leslie Grace), Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), and Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV). The movie serves as a celebration of the real-life Washington Heights filming location neighborhood in New York City.

Related: In The Heights: The Biggest Changes To Make The Movie Better

On its journey to becoming a major motion picture, In the Heights faced various complications due to creative differences, allegations against a former producer, and pandemic-related delays. According to Variety, the musical caught the attention of Universal Pictures after the distributor had significant box office success with its film adaptation of Mamma Mia! that summer. It was announced in November 2008 that Universal planned to take on In the Heights with Kenny Ortega as the director. However, the project was later abandoned because the studio supposedly wanted a bankable star like Jennifer Lopez or Shakira to bring the story to life, which contradicted Miranda's vision.

An In the Heights movie became a possibility again after the popularity of Hamilton. While the project was in limbo after Universal dropped it, Miranda went on vacation and read a biography of Alexander Hamilton. The Founding Father became the star of the Broadway musical that debuted in 2016 and has evolved into a pop culture phenomenon. Miranda's ascent into stardom along with Hamilton made In the Heights appealing, and The Weinstein Company signed on for the movie in 2016. During that time Chu also came on as the director. But in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse scandal that surfaced in 2017, those producer rights for himself and his company were revoked.

By that point, In the Heights had enough interest and relevance that multiple studios wanted to take part in its film development. In an effort to woo Miranda and Chu, the team at Warner Bros. set up a bodega on its backlot, served piraguas, and enlisted staff members to perform some of the musical numbers. This effort ended up paying off: Chu made a case on the studio's behalf after his experience directing Crazy Rich Asians at Warner Bros., and soon they closed the deal. The pandemic ended up delaying the original release of In the Heights when movie theaters closed, but after a year, Miranda and the team finally get to see their vision on the big screen.

Next: In The Heights: Why DACA Is The Movie's Most Important Change

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.