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Lin-Manuel Miranda on In the Heights and How Howard Ashman Impacted His Life

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In addition, Miranda talks about the challenges of trying to make a ‘Hamilton’ movie and why he loves the version that’s available on Disney+.


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With director Jon M. Chu’s fantastic adaption of In the Heights now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, I recently landed an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda. During the wide-ranging conversation, he talked about his reaction watching the finished film for the first time, his long history trying to get In the Heights made as a movie, what director Kenny Ortega’s version would have been like if they’d made it a decade ago and why that version never happened, how Chu changed the game with the way he cast Crazy Rich Asians, getting to film on location and the way the neighborhood embraced the film, and much more. In addition, he talked about the challenges of trying to make a Hamilton movie, why he loves the version that’s available on Disney+, and the way lyricist Howard Ashman impacted his life both as a child and in his work on animated films like Moana, Vivo and Encanto.

In the Heights is based on Miranda’s 2008 Tony-winning Broadway musical. Set in New York’s Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, it follows the life of Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos), who spends his days dreaming about a better life while he takes care of his small bodega and saves every penny for a brighter future. In the Heights also stars Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco and Jimmy Smits. The film is produced by Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Scott Sanders, Anthony Bregman and Mara Jacobs, with screenplay by Hudes.

Finally, while you can watch In the Heights for free on HBO Max, if you’ve been vaccinated and feel safe going back to a movie theater, I strongly recommend seeing this movie on the biggest screen in your area. In the Heights is one of my favorite films of 2021 and a perfect movie to see in a movie theater.

Check out what Lin-Manuel Miranda had to say in the player above. Below you can find a list of exactly what we talked about, followed by the official synopsis.

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Image via Warner Bros.

RELATED: ‘In the Heights’: Watch the First 8 Minutes of the Hotly Anticipated Musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda:

  • What TV series would he like to guest star on?
  • What movie or movies has he seen the most?
  • If he could get the financing for any project what would he make and why?
  • How Howard Ashman impacted Miranda’s life.
  • Is the rumor he is working with Weird Al Yankovic on a new thing at Disneyland true?
  • Would he have reprised his role if director Kenny Ortega had made the film a decade ago?
  • Talks about why the film was never made with Ortega.
  • How Jon M. Chu changed the game with the way he cast Crazy Rich Asians.
  • How did Kenny Ortega’s version of In the Heights compare to what Jon M. Chu did with the material?
  • How they never could have filmed on location a decade ago.
  • What was it like watching the finished film for the first time?
  • Does the popularity of the Hamilton stage production around the world make it that they are less likely to do a Hamilton movie anytime soon?

Here is the official synopsis for In the Heights:

Lights up on Washington Heights, a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big… The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi, who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.

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Image via PBS

in-the-heights-anthony-ramos-melissa-barrera
‘In the Heights’ Review: A Big, Beautiful Celebration of Heritage and Community

Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is colorful, earnest, and explodes off the screen.

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