With IN THE HEIGHTS, director Jon M. Chu brings the hit Broadway musical to the big screen! The story follows Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who is at a crossroads in his life. He has received an inheritance, but should he keep his shop open, or close it and retire to the Dominican Republic?
We had a chance to speak with the fantastic cast and director. They talked about being part of a momentous film that was primarily shot on location in Manhattan. Olga Merediz, who plays "Abuela" Claudia, said, "there is no other place that this film could have been shot because it’s the real deal. It’s the genuine community of Washington Heights.” She added, “I think it’s a postcard to Washington Heights and New York, but it’s a metaphor of any community.” She added, “It’s about family. It’s about helping each other. It’s about realizing the American dream.”
Her co-star Gregory Diaz IV, who plays Usnavi's cousin Sonny, said "It felt like I was filming at home. It never felt like work. It just kind of felt like you were showing up to have fun.” Dasha Polanco, who plays Cuca, added, "when you are part of something like this, (where) the backdrop is the neighborhoods you grew up in, that you were raised by, it’s something that you have no other choice but to feel proud."
Director John M. Chu, who previously made CRAZY RICH ASIANS, is no stranger to crafting complex scenes, and he talked about the added difficulties of filming in real New York apartments. "All those apartments are really tiny." He added, "In a way, I think it made us better. It made us really lean into the neighborhood, and it never felt like we were trying, as filmmakers, to control the look. It was just, sort of, what was happening."
Check out our full interview with the creators of IN THE HEIGHTS:
IN THE HEIGHTS opens on June 11!
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.