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Latinos finally get their turn with ‘In the Heights’

COMPOSER/WRITER, LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: “…the hope for me is that in five years, people go ‘Why was ‘In the Heights’ such a big deal? We have 10 Latino movies every year now’. That’s the dream for award winning composer and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who looks forward to the day when a movie starring an all-Latinx cast doesn’t generate headlines… (NAT SOUND) But for now, the creator of the hit musical “Hamilton” is welcoming the attention and hopes that his film musical “In the Heights”, will do for the Latin community what Crazy Rich Asians did for the Asian community back in 2018.MIRANDA: “It was fun to watch John Chu short-circuit that cycle with his work on ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ because you’ve got amazing established Asian and Asian-American talent in that movie next to up-and-coming stars that may have been known in the Asian or Asian American community but were not known to the world yet and now Gemma Chan is going to be in a Marvel movie and now Henry Goulding is Snake Eyes in the ‘G.I. Joe’ movie and he created a lane where none existed and we’re going for a similar thing with ‘In the Heights’”Shot on the streets of the vibrant multi-racial community of Washington Heights in Manhattan, the former Broadway musical turned film took 13 years to get to the big screen.With some dialogue in both Spanish and English and storylines about the struggle to succeed in the United States – along with plenty of huge dance numbers – the film has won rave reviews.But while Latinos make up around 18% of the U.S. population, a 2019 study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that just 3% of the top-grossing movies from 2007-2018 had Latinos as lead or co-lead actors.This is something that Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival co-founder and actor Edward James Olmos says needs to change: “I don’t think it’s ever really going to change until we do what Tyler Perry did which is to create his own studio and then work on the work that he wants to do and that’s what we have to do as Latinx people. We have to create our own studio and move forward.”‘In the Heights’ will be in theaters and on HBOMax Thursday.