Anthony Ramos, who has appeared in Hamilton, can currently be seen in A Star is Born, and who has appeared in productions of the In the Heights stage production, is in talks to star in the In the Heights movie. The film is an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s pre-Hamilton musical set over the course of three hot summer days in the neighborhood of Washington Heights.
Variety has the news about Ramos joining the In the Heights movie cast. If all goes according to plan, Ramos will play Usnavi de la Vega, a part originated by writer Lin-Manuel Miranda. Usnavi owns a small bodega in Washington Heights and dreams of moving to the Dominican Republic. He also pines for a woman named Vanessa, who also lives in the neighborhood.
Ramos played the part of Usnavi on stage before at the Kennedy Center, alongside Vanessa Hudgens in the part of Vanessa. Ramos also performed in the original Broadway run of Miranda’s smash hit Hamilton. You can watch Ramos and company performing the musical below.
Anthony Ramos in In the Heights
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is helming the movie adaptation, with Miranda serving as producer. In describing the film adaptation, Chu 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.”
The musical first was first performed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut in 2005 before moving to Off-Broadway in 2007. The Broadway production launched in 2008, and ran until 2011. The project has bounced around studios before finding a permanent home. Universal originally had the rights, but didn’t want to commit to the budget. The Weinstein Company took over after that, but in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s firing and the collapse of the company, the rights reverted back to Miranda and In the Heights book writer Quiara Alegría Hudes. A bidding war soon followed, with Warner Bros. winning out.
Here’s the synopsis of the musical:
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 the Heights opens June 26, 2020.
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