Hot off the success of magic-centric caper Now You See Me 2 – which opened solidly this past weekend despite major competition from another high-profile follow-up, The Conjuring 2 – Jon M. Chu is in talks to helm an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights.
The Weinstein Company is pushing hard to get the project, which was Miranda’s first big hit prior to Hamilton, off the ground as fast as possible, and Chu has been entrenched in the studio system long enough to have earned a reputation for extremely quick, professional turn-arounds.
In the Heights, set largely at a bodega in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, centers on the owner of a bodega who’s struggling over the idea of closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic once he inherits a family fortune. The Broadway production was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won four, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.
Miranda had the lead role in the stage version back in his twenties, but he’s currently deliberating over potentially recasting the part with a younger actor instead of reprising it.
Either way, it’s exciting to see Chu enter the fold as a potential choice to helm the adaptation – anyone familiar with In the Heights can attest to the importance of its song-and-dance numbers, and Chu has a great deal of experience with that genre, having sat behind the camera on two Step Up movies as well as a Justin Bieber concert documentary.
He has a distinct knack for capturing the juxtaposition of poise and passion that great dancers bring to the table, and with his time spent helming big-budget Hollywood fare like G.I. Joe: Retaliation, there’s no doubt he’s figured out how to tell strong stories that also look great on screen.