The film adaptation ofÂ In the Heights,Â Lin-Manuel Mirandaâs HamiltonÂ precursor, has had quite the uphillÂ battle. Universal acquired the rights a full decade ago and it was set to be directed by Kenny Ortega (Newsies,Â Hocus Pocus), but the studio dropped the project in 2011.
Back in June of 2016, it was announced that the Weinstein Company had picked up the rights. At the time, this seemed like a great move, as Weinsteinâs name was practically synonymous with Oscars. But then the fall of 2017 hit, and Weinsteinâboth the name and the humanâwas poison. Luckily, the rights to the film reverted back to Miranda and co-creatorÂ Quiara AlegrĂa Hudes before The Weinstein Company went bankrupt. There was reportedly an intense bidding war just last month, which Warner Bros. won.
Luckily, in the Weinstein/Warner Bros. switchover,Â Crazy RichÂ AsiansâÂ Jon Chu stayed attached to direct. And now we finally have a release date:Â June 26, 2020.
Thereâs a release dateâŠ
And a great script by @quiarahudesâŠ
And a talented director in @jonmchuâŠ
And a new home at @WarnerBrosEntâŠ
IsâŠis this really happening this time? https://t.co/61dY4FMeZN
â đ”đ· Lin-Manuel Miranda đłïžâđ (@Lin_Manuel) June 7, 2018
For the unfamiliarâfirst of all, get thee to Spotify and listen to the soundtrack asapâIn the HeightsÂ is Mirandaâs musical that he wrote as a sophomoreÂ in college and hit Broadway in 2008. It takes place over three days in the LatinoÂ neighborhood of Washington Heights, centering on Usnavi, a Dominican bodega owner originally played by Miranda, who longs to return home.
Patience is a hard thing to muster in the moment, when a hugely anticipated project like this keeps getting pushed back. But now that weâre where we are, I canât help but think all the delays may have been what this movie needed to be able to become the film we all want. Maybe the original Universal version back in 2008 would have been good. Maybe it would have been great. But Iâm so excited to see Jon Chuâs vision for this movie. And between Chuâwho, by the end of this summer with the release ofÂ Crazy RichÂ Asians, is bound to be a Very Big Dealâand Miranda, this is likely to be a much bigger movie than it would have been a decade ago, beforeÂ HamiltonÂ was a thing that existed in the world, before the more recent Hollywood battles proving, hopefully once and for all,Â that movies about people of color could and would be box office heavy hitters without any whitewashing necessary.
Back in 2011, the reason Universal dropped the film was reportedlyÂ that they were banking on getting big-name Latino actors to star in smaller roles, and that wasnât panning out. I canât imagine that this team would have that much trouble now finding actors to cameo, or finding the money to pay them, or demanding the money and respect this project deserves. I hated having to wait 12 years, but I cannot wait to see what this movie looks like in 2020.
(H/T Lainey Gossip, image: Scott A. Moore)
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