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How ‘In the Heights’ Director Jon M Chu Corralled That Pool

If you have been amazed by the large pool scene in “In the Heights,” simply wait till you learn the way a lot work went into filming it.

Director Jon M. Chu broke down the logistics — from needing heaps and heaps of towels for the solid to making sure nobody drowned — with TheWrap’s movie editor Beatrice Verhoeven forward of the musical’s launch.

“For the song ‘96,000,’ you have 600 extras who you need to make sure don’t drown or get electrocuted around lights,” Chu defined. “Their ages are from five to 80. You have to have enough towels to keep people dry so they don’t get hypothermia and they need to not only get dry once, they had to get dry over and over again. And you have barbecues, so there’s fires happening. You have your whole cast there — it’s stormy, by the way. So there’s lightning, so yes, at every turn, there was a huge logistical thing in the way.”

in the heights

Even filming the opening scene, which went from a small bodega with a restricted solid to the precise streets of Washington Heights with lots of of backup dancers, took lots of coordination. Chu felt outfitted to deal with it given his expertise directing movies like “Step Up 2 the Streets” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

“That opening took the whole shoot to shoot,” he mentioned. “We had real people from the real streets of Washington Heights. We were on the actual block of that, shooting in the middle of the street. So you have to close off two blocks to the left, two blocks to the right, two blocks south, two blocks north… The moment in that opening where the custodian is leaning on his mop and looking out the window dreaming. He was the real custodian for the building that we shot in for the apartments. As he unlocked the doors, we’re like, ‘Hey, do you want to be in a movie?’”

Chu and producer Lin-Manuel Miranda didn’t solid A-list actors for the movie. Instead, they discovered gifted, considerably undiscovered actors who they knew might carry the emotional weight required. Anthony Ramos performs Usnavi, the lead, and different solid members embrace Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Stephanie Beatriz, Jimmy Smits, Dascha Polanco, Olga Merediz and Gregory Diaz IV. Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote the screenplay, primarily based on the stage musical of the identical title by Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It tells the tales of individuals residing in Washington Heights, New York, pursuing their very own particular person goals of a greater life.

“In the Heights” opens as we speak. Read TheWrap’s Q&A with Chu beneath.

In the Heights Anthony Ramos First 8 Minutes

TheWrap: What made you wish to be part of the undertaking? How did you get entangled? 

Jon Chu: I keep in mind seeing it when it was on Broadway — I used to be doing my first film, “Step Up 2 The Streets.” We’re capturing in Baltimore. And we’ve got a salsa part within the film. And our salsa choreographer Lewis Salgado was a solid member on the Broadway model. So he’s like, come examine this factor out. I by no means heard who this dude Lin-Manuel Miranda was, so this should have been 2009, presumably. When you first see a Lin manufacturing, you’re simply — my jaw was on the ground, but it surely wasn’t due to the rapping. It was that it spoke a chunk of me that I might by no means categorical what it felt wish to develop up in an immigrant family, the place your aunties and your uncles are elevating you. Where your, my abuela Claudia, was my boo boo who taught me the best way to fold wontons. I by no means knew the best way to categorical that. And he did it though it was concerning the different aspect of the nation, and a few completely totally different tradition. And so I knew the ability of this story he created.

Back then as a fan, by no means pondering I’d have the chance to really direct that till a few decade, just a little over a decade later when Scott Sanders and Mara Jacobs got here to me, who I met early in my profession, simply as a basic assembly. I’d identified them all through the years. Scott, , is a Broadway man, so he is aware of all of the dance stuff…

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