It’s the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s foot-stomping Broadway hit Into the Heights – telling the story of a mostly Hispanic neighborhood in the Washington Heights section of New York City and centering around bodega owner Usnavi, played by Anthony Ramos (of Hamilton and A Star Is Born fame).
(Usnavi, btw, is so named because his parents saw a US Navy ship as they entered into the New York harbor before landing on Ellis Island. US Navy = Usnavi.)
via NBC News:
“In The Heights” is a story “about a block that is disappearing” and follows the lives of several characters dealing with issues of family, love and community as gentrification begins to take hold of their beloved, predominantly Latino neighborhood. The musical was praised for countering Latino stereotypes; one of the main characters, Nina, is a studious, ambitious young Latina who goes to Stanford University.
The movie also stars Corey Hawkins, Marc Anthony, Jimmy Smits, Melissa Barrera, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Dascha Polanco and Stephanie Beatriz and is directed by Jon M. Chu of Crazy Rich Asians fame.
“It’s a universal story that’s about family and belonging. … Whether you’re from Washington state or Washington Heights, I think everyone can relate to it,” said Olga Merediz, who is reprising her beloved role as “Abuela Claudia,” which she originated on the Broadway version of “In The Heights.”
The musical won four Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It was Miranda’s first big hit (pre-dating Hamilton, of course). He started working on In the Heights as a student at Wesleyan University in 1999.
And if Miranda scores an Oscar for this at the 2021 ceremony, fingers crossed, he will finally get his EGOT. So….
In theaters and streaming exclusively on @HBOMax* June 18.