Lin-Manuel Miranda explains why Donald Trump reference was removed from In the Heights song
Miranda also opened up about his hesitancy to delay the release of the musical amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Heights (2020 film)
The star initially referenced Trump in the stage version of the Tony-winning musical but decided to replace him with Tiger Woods instead for later productions and the version of the track featured in the film adaptation.
"When I wrote it, he was an avatar for the Monopoly man," he said of Trump in an interview with Variety. "He was just, like, a famous rich person. Then when time moves on and he becomes the stain on American democracy, you change the lyric. Time made a fool of that lyric, and so we changed it."
In a separate interview with the publication, the film's screenwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes (who also wrote the book of the musical) further elaborated on the alteration.
"When that lyric was written, it was in a teasing way because of what Donald Trump represented in that time," Hudes said. "It got to a point where teasing didn't quite cover it. There was so much harm and damage done to the communities that we were trying to uplift in this movie. In the spirit of the movie, his name doesn't have a place in a teasing way."
Miranda also opened up about his hesitancy to delay the release of the upcoming musical due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how director Jon M. Chu made him reconsider.
"I very publicly was the one person who was really against it," he said. "I was like, 'How can we hang onto this for a year when we know how wonderful it is?' Jon's argument to me, which is the correct one, is we can release it now and people would feel good to have it in their homes. Or we can release it with the right push next year, and then we create a lane of Latinx stars so that I never have to sit in a meeting and hear someone say, 'Do they test international?'"
Chu added how his experience working on Crazy Rich Asians helped him when it came to casting In the Heights.
"[Crazy Rich Asians] gave me the strength in the room to say: We're going to have to spend more time and money to find the right actors," he said. "You're not going to find them at an agency. Agencies won't rep them because there's no roles for them."
He added, "When you are trying to make stories that change what we've seen before, you can get caught in the small things. But you try to do as much as you can, to be as truthful as you can. And the rest, other people are going to fill. We got to crack it open a little bit."
In the Heights is set to premiere in theaters and HBO Max on June 11.
In the Heights (2020 film)