Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is following up his smash hit rom-com with a film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. While Miranda has been announcing the film’s cast members through his Twitter account, today he announced one more addition to the movie’s ensemble: himself.
(See you on set) pic.twitter.com/ydfNMOzGbI
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2019
Miranda will play the bit part of Piragüero, whom EW describes as “the owner of a small piragua (a Puerto Rican shaved ice dessert) stand who Mister Softee is trying to shut down but he keeps scraping by on the barrio streets with a selection of mango, strawberry, and pineapple ices!”
Years before his hip-hop history lesson Hamilton became a global sensation, Miranda’s first musical, In the Heights, also won a slew of major awards and left its own impact in the musical theater world. Here’s a description of the show:
In the Heights centers on a variety of characters living in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, on the northern tip of Manhattan. At the center of the show is Usnavi, a bodega owner who looks after the aging Cuban lady next door, pines for the gorgeous girl working in the neighboring beauty salon and dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to the shores of his native Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Nina, a childhood friend of Usnavi’s, has returned to the neighborhood from her first year at college with surprising news for her parents, who have spent their life savings on building a better life for their daughter. Ultimately, Usnavi and the residents of the close-knit neighborhood get a dose of what it means to be home.
Miranda wrote and starred in the original musical as Usnavi, but that role will be played by Anthony Ramos (Hamilton) in the movie. For those of you who are familiar with the ins and outs of the story, here’s the rest of the confirmed cast so far: Melissa Barerra is Vanessa, Corey Hawkins is Benny, Leslie Grace portrays Nina, Olga Merediz will play Abuela Claudia (she played that part on Broadway), and Jimmy Smits takes on the role of Kevin Rosario, Nina’s overprotective father. Stephanie Beatriz is Carla, Daphne Rubin-Vega is Daniela, who both work at the neighborhood salon with Nina. Dascha Polanco plays Cuca, Gregory Diaz IV is Sonny, Usnavi’s younger cousin, and Marc Anthony plays Sonny’s father.
Universal was set to adapt the play into a movie years ago, but ended up getting cold feet when they crunched the numbers and couldn’t agree on a budget. The rights ended up being sold off to The Weinstein Company, who sat on the project for years until the Harvey Weinstein scandal finally allowed the rights to revert to Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for the musical. In 2018, Warner Bros. won a massive bidding war to adapt the movie, and it’s finally set to arrive in theaters on June 26, 2020.
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