If you want to feel as if you're watching a Broadway production without the ticket price, you're in for a treat with the Quiara Alegría Hudes adapted, Jon M. Chu-directed and Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, In the Heights releasing June 10. The spectacular feature film originated as a live production, eventually making its way to Broadway, earning 13 nominations for Tony Awards and taking home four. In a sit-down with PopCulture.com, the musical's cast members, including Melissa Barrera, Jimmy Smits, Olga Merediz, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Gregory Diaz IV shared their excitement for fans to see the long-awaited film and the "full-circle moment" they were a part of.
"I couldn't say no to it because it was the first musical that I had seen on Broadway, ever, years ago when I was in college," Hawkins, who plays the character of Benny said when asked what made him say "yes" to this project and role. "So this is a bit of a full-circle moment for me, 'cause that was sort of the beginning of my career as an actor and possibility and being seen in terms of representation on stage but also on-screen." While Hawkins brings a little "soul" to In the Heights, he also used to live in the heights when he was in college, which only brings more passion and more meaning to playing Benny.
Barrera, who portrays the role of Vanessa, also had a bit of a moment herself when she saw herself and other cast members on a billboard in Times Square, admitting that her "heart started beating out of [her] chest" considering the "iconic" moment that only comes once in a lifetime for very few. "It's so iconic and you see all the billboards and you go there and people take pictures and I've always dreamed of having my face up on one of those billboards," she gushed. When Barrera shared the photo with her followers on Instagram, she kept the caption simple: "Could someone pinch me please?"
The film was originally supposed to premiere in 2020 but due to the pandemic, production was pushed back, like many other films and TV shows. Because the cast has been waiting so long to share their work with the world, Barrera said, "I'm so excited and I cannot wait for the world to see this movie and to get to share it." After all, fans have been waiting long enough.
Representation is one of the many parts of this film that makes it so great but no matter your background, race or religion, viewers are also able to relate to these characters thanks to the strength of its cast, like Grace's character Nina. Viewers may see themselves in her because she's going through something we all go through at some point in time.
"Nina goes through a lot of things that we all have to face in our lives," Grace explained. "We've all in some way, shape or form, no matter where you're from at some point are feeling like you're not enough [...] or don't fit in enough." Nina struggles with her success of making it to Stanford University and toggles back-and-forth on how to fit in there and back home.
Between beautiful colors, incredibly talented stars, perfectly sound voices and rhythmic music, fans will be blown away by the musical production. With names like Jon M. Chu leading the dazzling direction and the joyous pairing of Hudes and Miranda penning the story, the vibrant celebration of culture and sound is guaranteed to make fans want to see the film more than once.. Certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 99% freshness score, In the Heights with all its singalong goodness will light up theaters on June 10.