Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke out this week amid a wave of backlash toward “In the Heights,” acknowledging that the movie “fell short” in terms of diverse casting.
Based on Miranda’s 2008 Broadway musical, “In the Heights” debuted last week in theaters and on HBO Max to rave reviews. The film stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins and Leslie Grace as members of a Caribbean diaspora community as they pursue their dream of a better life.
Some critics, however, pointed out that the film’s principal cast was made up of light-skinned and white-passing actors, making for a less-than-accurate depiction of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, where the action is set.
On Monday, Miranda addressed those criticisms with a lengthy apology on Twitter, saying he’d heard “the hurt and frustration” the film had generated from segments of the community it strove to represent.
“In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short,” he wrote. ”I’m truly sorry. I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening.”
Miranda’s comments followed a heavily derided interview in which “In the Heights” director Jon M. Chu touched on the colorism accusations.
“I think that was something we talked about and I needed to be educated about, of course,” he told The Root journalist Felice León, saying he hoped “In the Heights” would encourage “more people to tell more stories and get out there and do it right then.”
Later, he pointed to darker-skinned dancers present in the film’s ensemble numbers and acquiesced somewhat.
“We’re not going to get everything right in a movie,” he said.
“In the Heights” isn’t the first of Chu’s projects to face such criticisms. 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” which he also directed, was a box-office smash but garnered backlash for its emphasis on characters of East Asian heritage.
Regarding the “Crazy Rich Asians” controversy, he told Insider this month, “That’s a lesson that I did not understand until it happened. I was like, this is a book that exists, and I’m making this book into a movie. I can’t add a new character into this book.”
“Listen, we need to have more movies, you need to have more filmmakers so that it doesn’t rest on one movie,” he added.
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