Lights (back) up on Washington Heights: Watch the new trailers for Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights movie
The lights are back up on Washington Heights!
On Sunday, Warner Bros. dropped two new trailers for its big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's first Broadway musical, In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and starring Anthony Ramos (Broadway's Hamilton, A Star Is Born) in the lead role of Usnavi, the movie is now set for a June 18 release date, after having been postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The epic new trailers are jam-packed with complex choreography, sizzling chemistry, synchronized swimming, and literal fireworks as it explores the lives of the residents of a Washington Heights block.
Speaking at a press event ahead of the debut, Miranda shared how important it was to get to tell the story of this group of people in such a grand way. "This is a big movie musical," he said. "I think we're so used to asking for less, just to ask to occupy space, as Latinos... and Jon [Chu], every step of the way, was like, 'No, this is a big movie. These guys have big dreams. We're allowed to go that big.' I'm just thrilled with what he did because I think it's bigger than any of us ever dreamed of." The director then added, "We've had a hard year, but this movie has so much joy, so much passion, so much community, so much hope in it that pours out of every frame and I think this trailer evokes that."
Set in Upper Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, Miranda's vibrant musical follows the lives of the people — many of them immigrants or children of immigrants — who live and work there, including Usnavi (played by Miranda himself on stage in the original Broadway cast) who owns the local bodega and dreams of winning big in the lottery and making it out of the barrio he grew up in. His plans are put somewhat put on hold, however, when it seems his longtime crush and beauty salon worker, Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), might reciprocate his feelings. All the while, the heat rises and rises in the neighborhood, bringing everyone's tensions and truths bubbling to the surface. (A classic New York summer.)
"I get emotional every time I see anything that has to do with this movie because it hits so close to home," said the movie's leading man, Ramos, after seeing the trailers. He then went and to explain how important the movie is going to be in terms of representation. "I grew up in New York and I'm Puerto Rican," he said. "I've never seen a film where somebody looked like my grandmother, somebody looked like my tia, someone looked like my cousin... I've never seen anything where there's 75 Latinos in the middle of the street, dancing and singing about pride for where they come from. In my life, I've never seen it, so I get emotional when I think about it and what it means to me and the culture."
The film adaptation of the Tony-winning musical also stars Straight Outta Compton's Corey Hawkins as Benny, Leslie Grace as Nina, Gregory Diaz as Sonny de la Vega, and Marc Anthony as Sonny's father, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz plays salon worker Carla, and Rent's original Mimi Marquez, Daphne Rubin-Vega, will play salon owner (and neighborhood gossip) Daniela. Orange Is the New Black's Dascha Polanco also stars as Cuca and Jimmy Smits plays Kevin Rosario.
Miranda also has a small but memorable role as Piragüero — the owner of a small piragua stand that tries to compete with a Mister Softee truck, which from a glimpse in the new trailers, looks to be run by Hamilton's Christopher Jackson. Jackson originated the role of Benny in the stage musical of In the Heights.
With a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, and music and lyrics by Miranda, the stage show won four Tony Awards and a Grammy. The film incarnation will hit theaters on June 18, 2021.
Check out the trailers above and six new posters for the movie below.