In The Heights Star On Creating New LGBT Connection For Lin-Manuel Miranda Movie

Stephanie Beatriz in In the Heights

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Lin-Manuel Miranda became a household name thanks to his Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer winning work on Hamilton. But his first original Broadway musical In the Heights is coming to theaters and homes thanks to John M. Chu’s film adaptation. A number of changes were made for the movie, and actress Stephanie Beatriz has opened up about creating a new LGBT connection.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress Stephanie Beatriz plays Carla in In the Heights, one of the ladies who work at the local salon. It’s a character that exists in the stage musical, she and salon owner Daniela have evolved into a romantic couple for the movie. Beatriz addresses this update to the story, saying:

What was so gratifying to me as a person who is queer is to see this relationship in the film be part of the fabric of the community and to be normal, and be happy and functioning, and part of the quilt they’ve all created. So much of this film is about where home is and who home is to you. And for Carla, Daniela is home. Wherever Daniela is, that’s where Carla feels at home.

Whenever a musical is adapted for film, there’s usually a number of changes made. In the Heights is no exception, as the story was updated to reflect the world around us. That includes Carla and Daniela’s coupling, which marks the first time a queer relationship is present in the award-winning story.

Stephanie Beatriz’s comments come from a recent event promoting In the Heights (via Playbill), where the cast and creative team was able to open up about the process ahead of the movie’s release this June. In addition to pivots like lyric changes, the story also changed a number of characters including Carla. Rather than being just a friend and colleague of Daphne Rubin-Vega’s Daniela, their relationship is far more deep.

In the Heights will be releasing on HBO Max at the same time as theaters. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

The salon ladies play a fun presence throughout In the Heights, getting some of the most fun musical numbers in the process. For the movie version John M. Chu and Lin-Manuel Miranda added a third character named Cuca, played by Orange is the New Black favorite Dascha Palanco. The trio’s dynamic should play out differently as a result, especially since Carla and Daniela are a couple.

In her comments about her character, Stephanie Beatriz mentioned how In the Heights is a story that is about how one finds their home. The stage musical tackles subjects like the immigrant experience, gentrification, and family. That includes both blood and chosen family.

After a year-long delay In the Heights will finally arrive June 11th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.