The film adaptation of Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical “In the Heights” has cast “Straight Outta Compton” star Corey Hawkins as Benny.
In the Broadway production of “In the Heights,” which won the Tony for Best Musical and Best Original Score, Benny falls in love with Nina, the girl who “made it out” of the upper Manhattan Washington Heights neighborhood. Nina is enrolled in Stanford, drops out and returns home where Benny works for her father. Benny dreams of opening his own business but has to deal with Nina’s father, who refuses to accept Benny and Nina’s relationship.
The musical was created by Lin Manuel-Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes and follows a bodega owner in the New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood who has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune.
“Hamilton” star Anthony Ramos has been cast in the lead role as Unsavi.
The film version, which is set up at Warner Bros., will be directed by “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu.
Hawkins, a Julliard graduate, broke out with his portrayal of Dr. Dre in the 2015 hit biopic of Compton rap group N.W.A, “Straight Outta Compton.”
He recently appeared in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” as Kwame Ture. Hawkins has also starred on Broadway in “Romeo & Juliet” as Tybalt and in 2017 garnered a Tony nomination for his role in “Six Degrees of Separation.”
Last October, Miranda announced that the film would also host a worldwide open casting search for four roles in the film.
“In the Heights” had originally been set up at The Weinstein Co., but Hudes and Miranda regained control of the film rights in the aftermath of the company’s downfall following the sexual assault and harassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein, and TWC’s subsequent bankruptcy.
Warner Bros. won an intense bidding war for the rights to the musical.
Before even landing at TWC the rights were picked up by Universal but were dropped in 2011 after the studio was reportedly reluctant to produce the film at a $37 million budget.
The studio has dated “In the Heights” for a June 2020 release. Hudes is penning the script with Marc Klein (“Serendipity”).
Hawkins is represented by CAA and lawyers Jackoway, Tyerman, Wertheimer, et al.