Warner Bros. has cast Corey Hawkins to appear in the film adaptation of In the Heights. Originally a play written by Lin-Manuel Miranda that landed on Broadway back in 2008, In the Heights was a hit, becoming nominated for thirteen Tony Awards (ultimately winning four, including for Best Musical). While Hamilton was what turned Miranda into a household name, it was In the Heights that marked the beginning of rise to fame. The play was such a success that studios swooped in to snatch up the rights less than a year after it hit Broadway, with the rights initially going to Universal.
In the Heights’ music and lyrics were written by Miranda. In the original Broadway run, Miranda played Usnavi de la Vega, a bodega owner and narrator. The character will be played by Anthony Ramos in the film. In the Heights takes place in Washington Heights over the course of three days. The play follows a cast of characters struggling during a summer blackout that ultimately forces everyone’s financial and romantic entanglements to a head. The rights to the play switched hands, temporarily finding a home at The Weinstein Company before coming to Warner Bros., who have just added to the film’s growing cast.
According to Deadline, Hawkins has joined the cast as Benny. The character Benny dreams of one day opening his own business. He falls in love with his boss’s daughter, Nina, who the rest of the town admires for going to Stanford (but drops out). Nina’s father does not approve of their relationship.
Hawkins’ career spans both film and theater. He has appeared in Straight Outta Compton, BlackkKlansman, and The Walking Dead. On Broadway he played Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and was in Six Degrees of Separation, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.
In the Heights has had a somewhat stalled beginning, first with Universal not feeling all that confident about the project, then ending up at TWC before all the scandals (which lead to Miranda asking for the right to shop the project to another studio). But it appears that Warner Bros. is set to at last bring In the Heights to the big screen. Currently, Warner Bros. has a 2020 release date planned which spells good news for fans of the original play or fans of Miranda’s work in general. With many of the leading parts still waiting to be filled, it will be interesting to see who ends up joining Hawkins as director John M. Chu moves forward on the project.