Wait, Even Showing A Hookah Is An Automatic R-Rating? Here's What Lin-Manuel Miranda Says

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack The Lamplighter in Mary Poppins Returns

The depiction of smoking in American films has changed drastically in recent years. While there are classic for all ages filled with characters lighting up a cigarette or cigar, pressures extending from public heath concerns and accusations of glamorizing the practice have forced Hollywood to change its ways in the last decade. This was primarily accomplished through the actions of the MPAA, which started to take smoking into consideration when rating movies in 2007.

Of course, the MPAA is classically obsequious when it comes to their specific rules, and now, courtesy of superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda we've learned about a strange one. According to the Tony Award-winner, if a movie merely features a hookah pipe - in use or not - that movie is slapped with an R-rating.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is currently in the process of making a big screen adaptation of his hit play In The Heights, and he was apparently saddened to learn about this rule on set - presumably because it's going to prevent him from fully properly depicting the New York City neighborhood in which the story is set: Washington Heights. You can check out his Tweet about his discovery below:

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It seems like Lin-Manuel Miranda and the filmmakers making In The Heights were presented a choice on set: either the film could feature hookahs and get an R-rating that would potentially limit the size of the audience; or that bit of authenticity could be left out in order to play towards a more family-friendly PG-13. Ultimately the latter option won out, but it also doesn't really seem like Miranda is too happy about it.

Based on the award winning show that opened on Broadway in 2008, In The Heights is a musical that depicts the lives of characters living in the aforementioned neighborhood of Washington Heights. Lin-Manuel Miranda is both acting in, and producing the movie, and the rest of the cast includes Stephanie Beatriz, Jimmy Smits, Corey Hawkins, and Marc Anthony.

The film is director Jon M. Chu's follow-up to last year's hit romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, and production officially began a little over two weeks ago - filming on location in Washington Heights. Warner Bros. has set up the project, and has scheduled it for release on June 26, 2020 - where it's set to go head-to-head- with the Tom Cruise-starring Top Gun: Maverick.

How do you feel about this restriction on depicting hookahs? Do you think it's a step too far for the MPAA, or do you think it's reasonable? Hit the comments section below with your thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the matter, and be on the look out here on CinemaBlend for the latest updates on In The Heights. To see what else will soon be heading to theaters, check out our 2019 Movie Release Schedule.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.