Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights Cast Saw The Movie Before Its Delay, Here’s How One Star Described It

Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera and the cast of In the Heights
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

In an alternate universe full of color and spontaneous musical numbers in the streets, we’d be gearing up for the release of In the Heights at the end of the month. But along with a slew of movie releases this year, the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical has been delayed from hitting theaters until next summer. Lucky for the cast, they will not have to impatiently wait with the rest of us.

Vida’s Melissa Barrera plays Vanessa, the love interest to Anthony Ramos’ Usnavi, in the highly-anticipated film. As the third and final season of her show unfolds on Starz, Barrera revealed she has seen In the Heights. In her words:

Yes, I saw it. It wasn’t the finished cut. It wasn’t the last final cut, but it was close to being done. I saw it, and it was overwhelming. It was so beautiful and shocking, to see it all come together, and how beautiful it turned out, how emotional it is, how moving and celebratory of our culture it is. It’s everything that I could have dreamed of. It’s beautiful, and I’m so excited to share it with the world, whenever that time comes.

It’s safe to say we’re jealous of the In the Heights actress. Melissa Barrera has high praise for her Hollywood big-screen debut, although now it feels a bit too early to hype it up. In late March, the musical, directed by Crazy Rich Asians Jon M. Chu, was delayed until next June. Lin-Manuel Miranda has claimed there is still “a lot that remains to be done” on finishing up the film, namely the score and sound mixing.

It does sound like Melissa Barrera saw a cut that’s at least close to the finished product, per her words to Collider. It’s unclear how the cast got to see the film. Was it in a small theater before “social distancing” was part of our daily vocabulary, or on a laptop in the safety of her home? Either way, it sounds like she loved it.

In the Heights' delay could not have been an easy decision for the cast and crew, but the film was definitely made for the purpose of a massive audience to see it on big screens all over the world… and maybe break some box office records? The last time Jon M. Chu made a movie, Crazy Rich Asians became the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade. And, well, Lin-Manuel Miranda made Hamilton happen.

In the Heights follows a bodega owner living in Washington Heights, New York and other people in his community as he dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to his native Dominican Republic. The movie also stars Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz, Orange is the New Black’s Dascha Polanco, Star Wars’ Jimmy Smits and Marc Anthony.

Although In the Heights will not hit theaters until June 18, 2021, the movie for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway phenomenon Hamilton is coming to Disney+ early on July 3.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.