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Lin-Manuel Miranda became a megastar thanks to his Broadway blockbuster Hamilton, which is a worldwide sensation. The original cast also became stars, including John Laurens/ Phillip Schuyler actor Anthony Ramos. Ramos is starring as protagonist Usnavi in John M. Chu’s In the Heights, the anticipated film adaption of Miranda’s first musical. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Ramos, where he explained why Hamilton fans will love the upcoming movie.
In the Heights was the first musical that Lin-Manuel Miranda brought to Broadway, winning a slew of awards in the process. He also played protagonist Usnavi, although Anthony Ramos is taking on the mantle for the movie version. Since Ramos is also a Hamilton alum, he knows exactly why those fans will enjoy John M. Chu’s film. You can see our full conversation on the matter in the video above.
John M. Chu found a killer cast to bring the Barrio of In the Heights to life. Anthony Ramos is the one familiar face for Hamilton fans out there, aside from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s small role as The Piragua Guy. The story is much more contained than the epic tale of America’s founding, but there’s still connective tissue between the two Tony Award winning pieces. In our conversation, Ramos spoke to the personal nature of In the Heights’ story, opening up with:
But for people who love Hamilton who haven’t seen In the Heights, this is more personal. This is a film, this is a piece of art that I’ve never seen. The kid in me has never seen. The moviegoing child in me has never watched a film like this. With this pulse.
Sounds like a fair assessment. While Hamilton has a human story and personal relationships at its core, it also plays out across decades of time and featured events like the Revolutionary War. In the Heights follows a community and chosen family over the course of a few days, allowing you to zero in on the interpersonal dynamics.
From the trailers, you can see why In the Heights is truly like nothing Anthony Ramos has seen. John M. Chu adds magic and fantastical moments to the musical numbers, elevating the story in the process. Sometimes this is literal, as characters dance on the side of a building while belting a love song.
Movie fans can watch In the Heights on HBO Max on the same day as theaters. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
In the Heights was a history-making moment on Broadway, with its diverse cast highlighting the different cultures that make up the Latino community. The movie will similarly be a major step forward in regards to inclusion, with people of color behind and in front of the camera. In our same conversation Anthony Ramos addressed this aspect of the movie, saying:
And the music that we hear, the culmination of Latinos from all over the world and how colorful this cast is. And this vibe, and this music that feels like the music we listen to right now. The story just feels so current. People have a lot to look forward to, especially folks who have seen Hamilton and loved it. This film, dare I say, I mean this is my favorite piece of Lin’s. Whether I was in the movie or not.
Hot take alert. While Hamilton currently has more fans around the world, there are folks like Anthony Ramos and myself whose heart belongs to In the Heights. We’ll just have to see how moviegoers respond to the film version, and if they go home to memorize Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stunning music.
In the Heights was originally meant to arrive in theaters last year, but was pushed back a full year alongside countless other film projects. That’s when Hamilton got moved up, giving us a Lin-Manuel Miranda extravaganza for two summers straight. But rather than a filmed stage production, In the Heights is a bonafide movie blockbuster that makes Anthony Ramos a leading man.
In the Heights will arrive in theaters and HBO Max on June 11th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.