In The Heights director Jon M. Chu opens up about delay
Musical fans were dealt a devastating blow yesterday with the announcement that the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was being pulled from Warner Bros’ release calendar amidst global pandemic concerns and now director Jon M. Chu has opened up about his feelings on the film’s delay. (Via Insider)
“We want people to have the movie theater experience,” Chu told Insider. “And with it being a musical, if you look back at history, that kind of movie has always brought people together at the worst times to celebrate life. And now we need that even more so.”
Whilst talking about the film, the Crazy Rich Asians director revealed that his crew were roughly 20 days away from it being ready to go for theatrical release, still having to put final touches on the movie’s score and that he was in New York working on the post-production when Donald Trump announced the temporary travel bans throughout the country and immediately got on a plane to Los Angeles to be with family while he and many other key members continued to work on the film remotely.
“Everyone had kids coming home from school, there were a lot of personal things that went down,” Chu said. “So we decided to hold off. We talked to the studio and everyone said to hold a beat.”
The decision to hold off initially was meant to last five days, but after California governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order, the studio chose to move the film’s release date indefinitely and while Chu had initially began reading stories that Warner Bros. was planning to distribute the film online, he had a talk with the studio and Miranda to ensure plans hadn’t changed.
“I actually called the studio to make sure, because I had read stuff online,” Chu said. “And they said, ‘You have our word. We know what this movie is.’ When I talk to Lin the most important thing to him is releasing it the right way.”
The director hopes that when this trouble passes, the world is going to have a better sense of community and that the film can thrive from audiences looking towards that message, with the song “Carnaval del Barrio,” in which everyone sings together on a hot evening in Washington Heights during a blackout being a powerful moment.
“When that song happens and the power comes back on, I think it’s going to give a lot of people that light they need,” Chu said. “The big thing is we get this movie on the big screen when people are in the right place in their lives to enjoy it. When people are coming out of the darkness and the light can come in.”
Warner Bros.’ upcoming In the Heights film adaptation is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. The film stars Anthony Ramos (Hamilton, A Star is Born), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) and Golden Globe winner Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue), who will be playing the roles of Usnavi de la Vega, Benny and Kevin, respectively. Olga Merediz (The Place Beyond the Pines), Gregory Diaz (Broadway’s Matilda), Leslie Grace, and Melissa Barrera (Vida) also star alongside Marc Anthony.
In the Heights is set in Washington Heights in New York City and focuses on a bodega owner who is closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune. The musical won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical.
Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) will direct from a script written by Quiara Alegría Hudes (Hamilton). Miranda, Anthony Bregman, Mara Jacobs, and Scott Sanders will serve as producers on the project. Miranda portrayed the lead role of Usnavi in the Broadway musical, and also wrote the music and lyrics.
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