‘Hamilton’ Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Describes John M. Chu’s ‘Big Vision’ for the ‘In the Heights’ Movie (Bigger Than His Own)
Hamilton is finally streaming on Disney+ but it’s going to be another year before we get to see another Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. Warner Bros. postponed In the Heights to the summer of 2021 after movie theaters closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The film is based on the first musical Miranda wrote and John M. Chu directed the movie adaptation.
Miranda was a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast on June 29 to discuss the Disney+ movie of Hamilton. Host Terry Gross asked Miranda about his next movie adaptation as well and he shared who Chu made it even bigger than he would have. In the Heights is scheduled for release June 18, 2021.
Lin-Manuel Miranda had a humble vision for ‘In the Heights’
In the Heights is a musical set in Washington Heights, New York, where Miranda grew up. He would have been satisfied with a small, neighborhood movie.
“It couldn’t have been in better hands,” Miranda told Gross. “Honestly, I have to give John a lot of credit because he had a big vision for it. It was bigger than even my vision for it. I always pictured it as this little indie musical and hopefully we could film it in our neighborhood because I just don’t think any other neighborhood looks like Washington Heights. Just demographics aside, the hills, the bridge and the literal heights of it I find breathtaking every day. I breathe easier when I’m in it.”
John Chu made ‘In the Heights’ a crazy rich musical
Chu had some clout making In the Heights. It’s his follow-up film to the hit Crazy Rich Asians.
“What he learned on that was we don’t get a lot of opportunities like this so we have to swing big,” Miranda said. “He really lobbied for a big movie that is also set in this neighborhood. Filming last summer was one of the most joyous experiences of my life. Again, I was writing songs about this neighborhood I loved to be performed on stage. Then to see those songs reinterpreted on the streets where I was writing them was breathtaking.”
‘In the Heights’ is a tribute to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s neighborhood
Miranda put his neighborhood on stage. Chu put it on film for the whole world to see. Miranda hopes it can remain a testament to Washington Heights, and perhaps nostalgic for the people Washington Heights may have left behind.
“A lot of In the Heights is about writing from that place of love, of loving the fact that it was a largely Dominican neighborhood when I was growing up, huge Dominican influx in the 70s but you also saw the Puerto Rican and Cuban ways of immnigration that came before,” Miranda said. “So In the Heights is about those stratified waves and how we make a neighborhood special. Because of gentrification, we sometimes make it so special that we can’t afford to live there anymore.”