In the Heights details

Before Lin-Manuel Miranda became a household name with his Broadway smash hit Hamilton, he created the Tony Award-winning musical In The Heights. That play has been inching toward a Hollywood adaptation since 2011, but it seems like it’s finally going to happen with director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) at the helm.

In a new interview, Chu explains his vision for bringing a movie adaptation to life and offers a few more In The Heights details that you can read about below.

You can watch a clip of Miranda and the rest of the cast performing one of the musical’s songs at the 2008 Tony Awards:

Here’s the synopsis of the play:

In the Heights centers on a variety of characters living in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, on the northern tip of Manhattan. At the center of the show is Usnavi, a bodega owner who looks after the aging Cuban lady next door, pines for the gorgeous girl working in the neighboring beauty salon and dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to the shores of his native Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Nina, a childhood friend of Usnavi’s, has returned to the neighborhood from her first year at college with surprising news for her parents, who have spent their life savings on building a better life for their daughter. Ultimately, Usnavi and the residents of the close-knit neighborhood get a dose of what it means to be home.

In an interview with Collider, Jon M. Chu was asked about how his movie adaptation would compare to other musicals, and here’s what he said:

“I sometimes think of Do the Right Thing, which is not a musical, but has a really cool vibe to it, and it speaks some truths, but is sort of in this visual world that I love and has some pop to it. I think of Annie Hall. The playfulness of Annie Hall where it’s not this typical love story but it has the freedom do really interesting things whether they’re drawing on the screen or breaking the fourth wall. So this has a little bit of that. It’s a story that’s being told to us through Usnavi, and because it’s a musical you have some of those freedoms to do it. When I think about New York, I think about how New York is usually the centerpiece to your visuals. How could you up New York? But here it’s ‘What do New Yorkers dream about? What do people in Washington Heights dream about?’ And how do you bring the wonder in the everyday things of the city?”

The rest of the interview is worth reading if you’re a fan of either Chu or the musical itself; he talks about how important it is for him as a child of immigrants to tell a story about immigrants with this film, and why the story remains compelling to him after all these years.

Universal was set to adapt the play into a movie years ago, but ended up getting cold feet when they crunched the numbers for the budget. Rights were sold off to The Weinstein Company, who sat on the project for years until the Harvey Weinstein scandal finally allowed the rights to revert to Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for the musical. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. won a massive bidding war to adapt the movie.

In The Heights is set to arrive in theaters on June 26, 2020.

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