Entertainment

“In the Heights” director Jon Chu and the cast make a speech movie color controversy

The latest blockbuster, In the Heights, by director Jon Chu and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, faces criticism that it doesn’t play a prominent role in dark-skinned Latino actors.

In an interview with The Root, Chu worked on a colorist accusation, admitting that he had to be educated. “I think that was what we talked about, and of course we needed to be educated. After all, when we were watching the cast, we tried to get the best people for those roles,” he said. Said.

“I’ve heard that we’re trying to fill these cast members with darker skin. I think it’s a really good conversation and we all should discuss it,” he added.

Based on Miranda’s Tony Award-winning play, the film tells the story of a Latin neighborhood and a summer blackout that will change the character’s life forever. Written by Miranda in 1999, the show aimed to show Latina’s expression on the theater stage. Miranda said he was terribly missing.

The controversy grew after the movie debuted on June 11. The film is inspired by Washington Heights in Harlem, which has a diverse and prosperous Latino community. Chu and Miranda previously said they wanted to feel like a “love letter” to the community.

When asked about the lack of African Latino people in the film, Chu said it was an important conversation that colorism should have. “Listen, we’re not going to get everything right in the movie, we did our best in all aspects of it,” he said. “I have something to say about sharing experiences. I don’t want to say I know what I’m doing, but I talk about what we’re doing at that moment. It just gives everyone room. “

In 2018, Chu faced similar accusations after the release of the hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians”.

Cast of “In the Heights” on June 9, 2021.

ANGELA WEISS / AFP via Getty


Root also spoke with actresses Melissa Barrera and Leslie Grace, who star in the film. Barrera said Casting focuses on finding actors and actresses who embody the character.

“I think it’s important to note that in the audition process, which was a long audition process, there were a lot of Afro-Latinos and a lot of dark-skinned people,” Barrera said. “I think they were looking for the right person for that role for the person who embodied each character to the fullest.”

Afloratina actress Grace admitted that she rarely saw dark-skinned people who looked like family on the screen while growing up. She said she hopes “in the heights” can increase the expression of dark-skinned actors and open the door. “I want to see brothers and sisters darker than me lead these films, so I hope this breaks the glass ceiling,” she said.

Both Chu and Barrera pointed out numerous dances in the film, including Black and Afro Latino dancers. However, critics argue that dark-skinned people have historically been forced into background roles. Black Corey Hawkins plays the role of Benny, the only dark-skinned actor in the main cast. Benny’s role in the film has diminished from the original Broadway script.

“I enjoyed the movie / I love musicals,” said writer Roxane Gay. Tweet.. “But it doesn’t make sense to eliminate the Afro-Latin community, which should have been widely represented by the leading and secondary roles. It’s terrible, and it counteracts the fun!”

Some critics said they hoped the discussion would lead to a more comprehensive casting in Hollywood.

“For everyone, movies aren’t everything. Movies like In the Heights probably bear an unfair burden in certain respects,” said writer Aisha Harris. Tweet.. “But I think it’s fair to wonder how colorism played behind the scenes, unconsciously or not.”



“In the Heights” director Jon Chu and the cast make a speech movie color controversy

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