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Entertainment Lin-Manuel Miranda on 'Pretty Wild' 'In the Heights' and Oprah Winfrey Full-Circle Moments (Exclusive)

03:25  11 june  2021
03:25  11 june  2021 Source:   etonline.com

He Used to Imagine His Life as a Musical. Now He’s Made One.

  He Used to Imagine His Life as a Musical. Now He’s Made One. Jon M. Chu, the director of In the Heights and Wicked, is finding a new edge in an old genre.Even before he signed on to the Hollywood adaptation of Wicked, Jon M. Chu helped his characters defy gravity. In a scene from the director’s forthcoming musical film In the Heights, a torrent of emotions literally sweeps the lovebirds Nina and Benny off their feet. As they sing the ballad “When the Sun Goes Down,” the fire escape on which they’re perched tilts, and the world shifts sideways. They leap onto the side of their apartment building, dancing weightlessly in the twilight glow.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wearing a blue shirt © Noam Galai/Getty Images

You could say Lin-Manuel Miranda is on top of the world.

After being postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, In the Heights is finally in theaters for the whole world to enjoy. It's been a bumpy journey for the musical, but it couldn't be coming out at a better time. ET's Rachel Smith spoke with the creator of the Broadway musical at the film adaptation's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival opening night, where he touched on the "pretty wild" opportunity to bring the film to Washington Heights and having Oprah Winfrey's full support.

"Yes [it's a full-circle moment]. It's dreams, it's a seven-layer cake of dreams. I grew up here, I love it here, I married someone that grew up here and loves it here. We raised our kids here," Miranda told ET of having the premiere in his neighborhood. "And now this love letter to the community, which we got to film in the community, is premiering."

Celebratory In the Heights premiere kicks off 2021 Tribeca Festival

  Celebratory In the Heights premiere kicks off 2021 Tribeca Festival Celebratory In the Heights premiere kicks off 2021 Tribeca Festival The movie of Miranda's musical, which had its release delayed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, made its long-awaited debut at the United Palace theatre in Washington Heights, the New York neighbourhood where the story is based, to kick off the annual Tribeca gathering - the first major film festival in North America to host in-person screenings.

In the Heights follows Usnavi, played by Anthony Ramos, a Washington Heights native who has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother's fortune. The story also centers on the Manhattan neighborhood’s people, heritage and their goals and aspirations.

The first production, starring Miranda as Usnavi, premiered in 2005 before it opened on Broadway in March 2008. It was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won four, including Best Musical.

'In the Heights' Trailer No. 1

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'In the Heights' Trailer No. 1

To celebrate the highly anticipated musical, Winfrey is hosting a virtual block party on Oprah Daily. She enthusiastically shared the news in an Instagram video that instantly put a smile on Miranda's face -- and left him in shock!

The Dazzling ‘In the Heights’ May Be the Best Movie Musical in Decades

  The Dazzling ‘In the Heights’ May Be the Best Movie Musical in Decades In the Heights may be the greatest movie musical in decades—so it is staggering to realize that it is actually adapted from the second-most famous thing Lin-Manuel Miranda created. The Hamilton multihyphenate (writer, star, Pulitzer Prize-winner, cultural ubique) first broke big on Broadway with his 2008 Tony-winning musical In the Heights. It heralded Miranda as a mold-shattering Broadway bard, a fresh talent who has helped usher in a mainstream boom in musical theater. A big test of just how big that boom could be comes this weekend when the big-screen adaptation of In the Heights, directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu, hits theaters and streams on HBO Max.

"Her saying my name or rather singing my name is my outgoing voicemail," Miranda joked. "Like, that was the first time I had changed it in 10 years. And now it's Lin-Manuel Miraaandaaa! It's pretty wild."

And here is when the second full-circle moment comes for the multifaceted Miranda. "When she was ending her show, I paid more money than I could afford to take my mom to Chicago to one of her last live tapes of the Oprah Winfrey Show," he recalls. "So then to have her saying those things about me...my mom has ascended to another plane. She's still with us, but she's on another plane because of that IG post."

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It was a family affair at Wednesday's premiere, with the majority of the Latin-leading cast, including Ramos, Jimmy Smits, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Dascha Polanco, Olga Merediz, Marc Anthony and director Jon M. Chu, among others, in attendance. Manuel expressed that this is the perfect time for In the Heights to come out after a devastating year.

‘In the Heights’ Is Just the Beginning for the Radiant Melissa Barrera

  ‘In the Heights’ Is Just the Beginning for the Radiant Melissa Barrera The riotous musical kaleidoscope of Jon M. Chu’s In the Heights—adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical—reflects and refracts a host of connected ideas: joy, love, and out-and-loud Latinx pride chief among them. It’s a loving snapshot of New York City’s working-class Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Mexican, and other Latinx communities, handled with uncommon care and affection. It’s a common refrain by now in discussions of the film, for good reason: There has just never been a movie like In the Heights before.

"We are just starting to safely gather in the community again. This movie is a love letter to the power of community. It was filmed in the summer of 2019, so it's a reminder of what life could be," he explained. "It's like, remember kissing? Remember hugging? Remember hugging each other in the streets when we saw each other? It's the power of what we can be when we are in a community together, to watch it together I think is incredibly powerful."

a group of people posing for a photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images © ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

It's only up from here for Miranda, who next will be releasing his feature directorial debut with tick, tick…BOOM! The film is an adaptation of the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who revolutionized theater as the creator of Rent. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner said it "feels good" to take his talents behind the screen, noting that he had great directors helping him along the way.

"It feels good because I had Jon M. Chu on speed dial. Whenever I had a question or a concern," he expressed. "Honestly, to work with him, to work with Rob Marshall on Mary Poppins Returns, to work with Tommy Kail on Fosse/Verdon, that was my graduate school. That was my film school. Every post-Hamilton project has been me learning how to do this. So I hope I'm ready."

Lin-Manuel Miranda sorry for lack of Afro-Latinx in In The Heights

  Lin-Manuel Miranda sorry for lack of Afro-Latinx in In The Heights The actor, playwright and musician acknowledged in a tweet on Monday that the movie 'fell short' and promised 'to do better'. 'I'm truly sorry,' Miranda shared.Miranda, who is a producer on the film adaptation of his stage musical, tweeted Monday that he's sorry for not including more dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors in the cast.

In the Heights is now in theaters and available on HBO Max. Watch the video below to hear how the In The Heights cast is already down for a sequel.

'In the Heights' Cast Is Pushing for a Sequel and Already Has Ideas About What's Next! (Exclusive)

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Rita Moreno, 89, backtracks on her defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda .
'While making a statement in defense of Lin Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of black lives that matter in our Latin community,' Moreno said in a statement.Just twenty-four hours after the veteran actress and star of West Side Story told Stephen Colbert that critics were 'attacking the wrong person', Moreno, 89, issued an apology in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

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