Since we first learned about the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical In the Heights in early 2019 we’ve been anticipating the release and now we’ve got a new trailer to hold us over. During a virtual event Saturday ahead of the premiere of the latest trailer during the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night Miranda described the film as a “big movie musical” NBC reported. The film’s release has been postponed several times as a result of the pandemic but it’s not just its popularity we’re excited for, it’s the representation on the big screen.
“We’re so used to asking for less, just to ask to occupy space. As Latinos, we’re like, ‘Please just let us make our little movie.’ And Jon, on every step of the way, he was like, ‘Nope, this is a big movie.’ These guys have big dreams, we’re allowed to go that big,” Miranda said.
The musical centers around Dominican bodega owner, Usnavi (played by Anthony Ramos) who saves all his money in the hopes of a better life and a community that includes his love interest, Vanessa, played by Melissa Barrera.
“I’ve never seen anything where there’s 75 Latinos in the middle of the street dancing and singing about pride and where they come from,” Ramos said during the virtual event. “I get emotional when I’m thinking about this movie and what it means to me and the culture.”
Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in partnership with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and Wise Entertainment released a report in 2019 tracking the lack of representation of the Latinx community in Hollywood both in front and behind the camera.
— In The Heights Movie (@intheheights) March 13, 2021
Only 3 percent of movies featured Latinx actors in lead roles from 2007 through 2018 in the 100 top-grossing films. J. Lo, Cameron Diaz, Eugenio Derbez, and Jessica Alba held 16 of those 35 lead roles surveyed. The report also saw that nearly one-half of the Latinx leads or co-leads were women, but five of the 17 leading ladies were played by Cameron Diaz, who is of Cuban descent. Only eight male and two female leads (both played by J.Lo), co-leads or members of an ensemble cast were 45 years of age or older at the time of theatrical release.
The cast also includes Jimmy Smits (The West Wing, Star Wars), Dascha Polanco (Orange is the New Black), Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton), Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Olga Merediz, who is reprising her beloved role as Abuela Claudia.
The film will be out in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max starting June 11. It will be available on HBO Max for 31 days from the theatrical release.