Corey Hawkins has landed one of the main roles in Warner Bros.’ film adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda award-winning musical In the Heights.
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu will helm the film. Hawkins joins Anthony Ramos, who was cast in the lead role of Usnavi (played by Miranda on Broadway).
Before Hamilton, Miranda brought Heights (written by Quiara Alegría Hudes) to Broadway in 2008, which is set over three days, involving an ensemble cast of characters in the largely Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.
Hawkins just appeared in Spike Lee’s Oscar nominee BlacKkKlansman and will next be seen in Michael Bay’s 6 Underground for Netflix.
In the Heights was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations, and won four. It’s also a Grammy winner for Best Musical Show Album and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
It didn’t take long for Hollywood to notice, and in November 2008, Universal Pictures announced plans to adapt the musical as a feature film for release in 2011. Kenny Ortega was set to direct the movie, which was slated to begin filming in summer 2011. However, the project stalled when Universal opted not to produce it due to budgetary concerns.
Skip ahead about five years later, and it was revealed that The Weinstein Co. had revived the project with a reported $15 million budget. No director had been attached, but Hudes was working on the screenplay. Now, after The Weinsten Co. folded and Warner Bros. won a huge bid for the rights, everything is full steam ahead with Chu as the director, and the casting process continues.
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