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Joyful ‘In The Heights’- Love Letter To Latinos In U.S.

It’s taken 13 years to make its way from the stage to the big screen, but “In the Heights” is throwing a party and wants everyone to join in.

Hollywood’s biggest Latino film in decades tells the stories of the dreams and challenges of the largely immigrant community in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

The musical was filmed largely on location in Washington Heights, a choice that brought the authenticity that director Jon M. Chu and the musical’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, were aiming for.

Corey Hawkins, who plays taxicab employee Benny, was raised in the neighborhood and says filming there was like coming home.

“It was during the summer. So the kids were out on the streets. The fire hydrants were literally open. And it was just … it was like magic. It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had,” he said.

Aside from Jimmy Smits, most of the cast are rising Latino singers, dancers and actors who hope the movie will open the door.

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