“What does ‘sueñito’ mean?”
“Sueñito, it means ‘little dream.’”
For almost seven years after its original 2011 release date came and went, the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning smash In The Heights seemingly died on the vine. It was having some trouble finding a permanent home after Universal Pictures, who had initially announced a deal in 2008, dropped the project. In 2016, The Weinstein Company stepped in to apparently rescue the adaptation from Development Hell with a brand new deal and a tentative production schedule that would reportedly begin as soon as 2017. For horrific, glaringly obvious reasons, that arrangement would not last long and once again, the story about a changing neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York was back on the market.
But having a record-breaking, award-winning Broadway paragon like Hamilton under your belt has a way of garnering interest. In 2018, Warner Bros. Pictures acquired the rights to Miranda’s hit in a bidding war. Not long after that, casting news steadily trickled in with Hamilton and She’s Gotta Have It alum Anthony Ramos attached to star as Usnavi, the charismatic corner store owner and Miranda’s claim to fame. We say all this to say: At its heart, In The Heights, from concept to tumultuous reality, has always been about patience, faith, and fighting for your peace, no matter how bleak matters may appear.
So witnessing any evidence of Miranda’s long-gestating dream (though certainly not little by any definition) is a somewhat of a triumph in and of itself. However, seeing the familiar, heartfelt narrative of a passionate block fighting against gentrification interwoven with technicolor musical numbers and a hint of surreal visuals certainly does its part to bolster expectations. It already looks like an emotional effort worth the excruciating wait. And considering our current climate, where DREAMers are fighting for their right to simply exist here, there is no more pertinent of a time for this story than now.
Directed by Crazy Rich Asian’s John M. Chu, In The Height also stars Melissa Barrera, Corey Hawkins,Leslie Grace, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, Daniela, Jimmy Smits, and Miranda himself. Audiences can join the carnaval del barrio when the film hits theaters June 26, 2020.