Movie musicals have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance over the last few years. Film adaptations of popular musicals aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid should be swimming into theaters soon, as well as Stephen Spielberg’s remake of Leonard Bernstein’s classic musical West Side Story. And now that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical In The Heights has nearly made it to the big screen, why not his career-defining project? I’m talking, of course, about Hamilton. And director John M. Chu has thoughts.
In a recent interview with Reelblend co-host Jake Hamilton, In The Heights director Jon M. Chu (who also directed the effervescent rom-com Crazy Rich Asians) admitted he would want to direct a live-action Hamilton movie, if the project were ever to materialize. He doesn’t want Lin-Manuel Miranda to know, though:
I have never brought this topic up to Lin because I don’t want to put any pressure on him. Of course I would like to do Hamilton, of course I would love to give my take. Of course if he throws that gauntlet down I will meet that gauntlet. I love that show so much. But I’ve always had to play it cool around him so I don’t talk about it enough.
Any live-action Hamilton movie would have to get Lin-Manual Miranda’s stamp of approval, so it makes sense that Jon M. Chu would tread lightly when the topic comes up. Even so, he would certainly qualify for the job, especially if In The Heights lives up to the hype. Not to mention Lin-Manuel Miranda has a history of bringing back old friends to work on new projects. Christopher Jackson, Hamilton’s original George Washington, had previously originated the role of Benny when In The Heights premiered on Broadway in 2005.
Actor Anthony Ramos is another example. He starred in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s short musical 21 Chump Street before going on to originate the role of John Laurens/Philip Hamilton in Hamilton. He’s also starring as Usnavi (a role originated by Lin-Manuel Miranda) in the upcoming In The Heights movie. This professional connection could be another point in Jon M. Chu’s favor.
Hamilton, a self-described ‘hip-hop musical,’ was a smash hit when it opened on Broadway in 2015. Composer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blend of history and rap music struck a chord with American audiences, as well as the powerful performances by Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Daveed Diggs (to name just a few). It won 11 Tony Awards, including the biggest prize of the night, the award for Best Musical.