Movie Version of In the Heights Reportedly Back on Track

News   Movie Version of In the Heights Reportedly Back on Track Weinstein Company now backing the film musical based on Hamilton author's other hit.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and company in In The Heights.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and company in In The Heights. Joan Marcus

The success of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton may have overshadowed his 2008 Tony-winning musical In the Heights, but producer Harvey Weinstein hasn’t forgotten.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Weinstein, the film mogul who has been heavily involved on Broadway, with projects ranging from musicals like Finding Neverland and The Addams Family to dramas like The Audience and All the Way, is working with Miranda to make a movie of Miranda’s rap- and Latin-flavored musical about life in the Manhattan immigrant neighborhood of Washington Heights. As with Hamilton, Miranda both wrote the score and starred (as Usnavi) in the original Broadway production.

Universal Pictures had picked up the rights to Heights, but then dropped them in 2011.

The Hollywood Reporter said The Weinstein Co. is budgeting the film at $15 million, and said, “Though Miranda will be heavily involved in the film, he won’t likely star because the now 36-year-old has aged out of the role.” The Weinstein Co. also produced the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Chicago.

No other casting or a production schedule were reported.

Scott Sanders (Evita, The Color Purple) is co-producing. The screenplay had been adapted by Marc Klein (Serendipity) but another writer “will likely be brought in to take another crack at the material.”

In a summer 2015 interview, Miranda had said, ”A lot of the reason the Universal version of Heights went away is that they were afraid they didn't have a big enough Latino star to bankroll this movie. The people I dealt with at the studio who wanted to make this movie were very passionate about it…. We were acquired by Universal the same year Mamma Mia! happened. That was a big honking movie musical, and so Heights was pitched as a big honking movie musical. Two years later, it went into turnaround. My experience with the studio was: ‘We're going to make a big honking musical. Oh, we can't afford that musical. Goodbye.’ The world has changed since then. You're seeing the power of the Latino dollar in the marketplace more than ever, and now we're aiming for a scrappy $15 million movie of Heights that is more in keeping with the spirit of the show. There's a new screenplay…. I was disappointed when In the Heights went into turnaround, but I was already pregnant with my next idea.”

Hollywood Reporter said that Universal was scared off by the film's price tag, which the magazine estimated at a larger, but still relatively modest, $37 million.

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