Pop the bottle of cold champagne: The residents of the Heights have been confirmed!
On Thursday, Lin-Manuel Miranda shared a tweet confirming the casting of the upcoming film adaptation of his first Broadway musical, In The Heights.
Anthony Ramos, who was previously reported to be in talks for the role of Usnavi, will star as the bodega owner — a role Miranda himself played on Broadway — while Straight Outta Compton‘s Corey Hawkins is confirmed to play the role of Benny. Additionally, Mexican actress and singer Melissa Barerra will play Usnavi’s love interest Vanessa, while Leslie Grace will take on the part of Nina.
Set in the Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights, Miranda’s musical tells of the lives of the immigrant residents of the neighborhood who live and work there, including Usnavi who owns the local bodega and dreams to win big in the lottery and make it out of the barrio he grew up in. His plans are put somewhat put on hold, however, when it seems his long-time crush and beauty salon worker, Vanessa, might reciprocate his feelings. All the while the heat rises and rises in the neighborhood bringing everyone’s tensions and truths to the surface.
With a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and music and lyrics by Miranda, the stage show won four Tony Awards and a Grammy. A film adaptation of Miranda’s 2008 show has been in the works for years. The Weinstein Company originally acquired the rights in 2016, but after they failed to start production more than a year later, Miranda and Hudes regained the rights in 2018. Hudes is writing the script for the upcoming movie and Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu is on board to direct.
Production will begin in summer 2019 in Washington Heights.