Lin(Manuel)

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Feature: ‘In the Heights’ Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jon M. Chu on the Hard Fight to Turn the Groundbreaking Musical Into a Movie

[ Written on April 08 2021 by Francesca ]

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jon M. Chu are VARIETY coverstars and the long coverstory includes a lot of voices from In The Heights.

When Lin-Manuel Miranda was pitching his musical In the Heights nearly two decades ago, Broadway heavyweights stumbled over what he was selling. They wanted the young female protagonist Nina, who drops out of Stanford, to have a more dramatic reason for leaving school than the pressures of being the first in her family to go to college.

“I would get pitches from producers who only had ‘West Side Story’ in their cultural memory,” Miranda recalls. “Like, ‘Why isn’t she pregnant? Why isn’t she in a gang? Why isn’t she coming out of an abusive relationship at Stanford?’ Those are all actual things I was pitched.” He pauses for a moment, not to entertain those queries but to consider their absurdity. “Because the pressure of leaving your neighborhood to go to school is fucking enough. I promise. And if it’s not dramatic enough, that’s on us to show you the fucking stakes.”

Miranda stood his ground. The show that he wanted to create emerged from his memories of growing up in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood and from the painful realization that Broadway roles for Latinos were limited. So he used hip-hop and salsa to pay homage to a close-knit community of immigrants and strivers, bodegas and block parties, friends who feel like family and families that deal with the tensions of trying to make it in the greatest city in the world. In the Heights would eventually open on Broadway in 2008, winning four Tonys and launching Miranda’s career.

Now, that musical is becoming a major summer film directed by Jon M. Chu. The Warner Bros. movie is finally coming out, both in theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max, on June 11. Even after a year’s delay due to the pandemic, the timing couldn’t be better.

And that’s not just because Miranda no longer has to fight to reflect the experiences that have since resonated with countless college students who have felt like Nina. “Because of the specificity of that struggle, I can’t tell you how many people have made it their business to tell me how much it means to them,” Miranda says.

Read the whole story under the cut.

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Feature: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Most Revolutionary Role Yet on the WSJ.

[ Written on June 22 2020 by Francesca ]

Lin-Manuel Miranda graces the cover of the WSJ. with a long feature in which he talks about his life during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Hamilton movie.

He and Nadal took turns supervising both Sebastian’s Zoom schooling (“Neither of us is quick to be a kindergarten teacher,” he says) and the care of their younger boy, 2-year-old Francisco. Isolated from their families and work colleagues, the Miranda-Nadals maintained their sanity by holding a weekly Thursday-night video cocktail hour with fellow alumni of Hunter College High School, which they both attended in the 1990s. At bedtime, Miranda settled in with Stephen Greenblatt’s book Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, paying particular attention to the passages pertaining to the outbreaks of bubonic plague that regularly befell London and Stratford-upon-Avon in the early 17th century.

“I didn’t read it because I wanted to know more about Shakespeare,” he says of Greenblatt’s book. “I read it as a how-to manual, how to cope when your calling and your livelihood routinely closes down.”

What he has learned, Miranda says, is that the only thing he can count on is uncertainty: “I have to just give up the idea that I know what’s going to happen on the other side of this. I don’t know what the other side looks like. I don’t know what a second wave looks like in the fall. I don’t know what this country looks like after Election Day. I hope it looks different. I have to give up wrestling with that and wrestle with what I can answer.”

Read the whole feature under the cut.

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Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda presents “Siempre, Luis” at 2020 Sundance Film Festival

[ Written on January 26 2020 by Francesca ]

On January, 25 Lin-Manuel Miranda was in Park City, Utah, to present the documentary Siempre, Luis dedicated to his father Luis Miranda at the Sundance Film Festival. The two Mirandas an the director John James made the round of the many studios setted by the media outlet to give interviews and promote the movie.

Check in our Gallery all the photos in HQ. [Edit: Added more photos and video under the cut.]

Movie Projects > 2020 – Siempre, LuisPromo
Public Appearances > 202025 January – Vulture Spot Presented By Amazon Fire TV 2020
Public Appearances > 202025 January – IMDb Studio At Acura Festival Village
Public Appearances > 202025 January – WarnerMedia Lodge Elevating Storytelling With AT&T
Public Appearances > 202025 January – Music Lodge During 2020 Sundance Film Festival
Public Appearances > 202025 January – Variety Sundance Studio
Public Appearances > 202025 January – 2020 Sundance Film Festival – “Siempre Luis” Premiere
Public Appearances > 202025 January – 2020 Sundance Film Festival – “Siempre Luis” Premiere – After Party
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 001
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 002
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 003
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 004
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 005
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 006
Photo Sessions > 2020Session 007

 

Under the cut there are two interviews video and an article. Check them out. [EDIT: Added two three more videos.] continue reading

Photos: Photo Sessions of His Dark Materials TCA Summer press tour

[ Written on January 23 2020 by Francesca ]

We were able to track down more photos from the portrait sessions of the His Dark Materials TCA Summer press tour. Check them all in our Gallery!

Photo Sessions > 2019Session 010
Photo Sessions > 2019Session 011
Photo Sessions > 2019Session 013
Photo Sessions > 2019Session 019

 

Feature: Lin-Manuel Miranda on Times Magazine for His Dark Materials

[ Written on October 19 2019 by Francesca ]

On Saturday October, 19 Lin-Manuel Miranda graced the cover of Times Magazine with a long interview where he touches many topics, from the upcoming TV show His Dark Materials to how he takes care of his mental health.

In our Gallery you can see a new promo picture from His Dark Materials and a new portrat, while below you can read some highlights from the article.

Television Projects > His Dark Materials (2019)Promo Photo Sessions > Session 018Session 018

He claims to be totally exhausted, in the middle of a busy day promoting His Dark Materials (set in a parallel universe in which our young heroine, Lyra, leaves Oxford in search of a lost friend; Miranda plays the character of Lee Scoresby, an aeronaut who flies a balloon), adding that he has barely slept. (“It was musical beds. I went to bed with my wife. At 1am the baby started crying and she went to his room and then never came back, and around 2am my other son crawled in and slept perpendicular to me, his feet in my face.”) But he is nevertheless one of the bounciest people I have ever met.

He cheerfully insists he loves the Pullman trilogy of books, which have sold more than 22 million copies globally (“I fell in love with them in my mid-twenties. When I started dating my wife, they were one of the series we read together, and I was really thrilled to be asked to be a part of it”) and says he “adores” working with puppeteers (everyone in Lyra’s world is permanently accompanied by an animal daemon that is an external manifestation of their inner self, and the actors performed opposite these daemons in puppet form). Working on Sesame Street – a “thrill” – was good preparation for the task (“The best part of that gig is the first time you do it, you get a PDF file which is the vocal ranges of the Muppets, and that’s a cool PDF to have”), he likes being in Cardiff, where it is being filmed (“Listen, I have a four-year-old little boy who is super-into knights and dragons, so the fact that I’m in a place where there’s a castle every exit on the motorway is pretty great”) and is treasuring the opportunity to travel with his family (“We knew there was a cap on our time to travel because my son starts kindergarten in the fall … Then I’ll be home”). And yes, Cardiff does count as thrilling travel. “The only people who are snobby about Cardiff are Londoners! You know what I love? I love hanging around the mall! I grew up in the city, so malls are still kind of a novelty to me.”

“We got our first car last summer: it’s a wagon that fits two child car seats.” And I read he still lives in the Washington Heights/Inwood neighbourhood in Upper Manhattan that he grew up in? “Yeah, I live 20 blocks from where I grew up, and all four grandparents are walking distance from my kids – that’s the best thing.” Before we get carried away about his humble ways, I should say there are two PRs listening in to our conversation from a table behind us, and when I refer to a claim that he still flies commercial, it turns out the experience of starring in the recent Mary Poppins Returns has left him not unaccustomed to the occasional private jet. “I fly commercial most of the time.” A coy glance. “If it’s Disney and they want you to be back at a certain time, and you are doing press for them, you serve the pleasure of the Walt Disney Company.”

I refuse to believe he hasn’t splashed out more. “When does this come out? It is my wife’s birthday in two weeks, and my wife’s favourite book is Moby-Dick. I went to a rare books place this morning and bought a first-edition complete Melville, and I will not tell her how much I spent on it. It was expensive: it was not as much as a car, but it was expensive. It’s funny – I’ve met other composers who have hits, and they all have the eccentricity that wealth has allowed them to have. You know, Andrew Lloyd Webber famously has art falling off his walls, and he has a couple of theatres – I’m never going to buy a theatre! You go to Stephen Sondheim’s house: he’s got puzzles; he’s a puzzle guy. Alan Menken, composer of The Little Mermaid, has a tortorium [turtle house]. I’m in the market for an eccentricity.”

It turns out that he went into therapy to help deal with the change. “I’ve been in therapy intensively twice in my life; I’m probably due for a third. The first time was after sophomore year [the second year] in college, breaking up with my first serious girlfriend. We’d been together for four and a half years. It was like a summer of therapy and it was great. The other time I did it, the other summer of therapy, was in the transition between off-Broadway and Broadway for In the Heights, and it was sort of beginning to deal with success, and my relationship with my girlfriend, now wife, was getting serious, so I just had a ton of shit that I needed to sort out on the table.”

He says he doesn’t get recognised that often, and characteristically doesn’t mind when he is (“People are 99 per cent of the time cool”), but I realise at this point that the two business executives on the table next to us have given up analysing spreadsheets on their laptops in favour of eavesdropping on this increasingly intimate conversation. He said he might be due another round of therapy? “Sure. My life’s changed a lot, I’m juggling a lot and I’m trying to be the best parent I can and the best husband I can. That balance is always hard. I could probably use a couple of sessions to work all that shit out. I could probably do with another summer.”

Read the whole feature under the cut.

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