Lin-Manuel Miranda on journey to releasing In The Heights, pressure to make neighbourhood proud

A mid-winter foot-tapper of a movie musical has just danced its way into cinemas here and it's from the same master songwriter behind hit broadway show Hamilton.

It's called In The Heights and Lin-Manuel Miranda shot his passion project on home turf.

Washington Heights, New York City, mid-summer, the streets that Pulitzer, Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning playwright and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda grew up on and returned to in 2019 to make a movie.  

That movie has now finally hit cinemas, a long time coming.

"We sent the first trailer out into the world 200 years ago but I'm just so thrilled the world finally gets to appreciate the whole thing," he tells Newshub.

"I think there is an extra poignance to the fact that we filmed this before the pandemic. It's a reminder of the power of community and what it feels like to dance together and sing and hug and kiss. It's like the best street party you've ever been to, like for two hours and change."

It's impossible not to get caught up in the magic of this pulsing vibrant Latino street party. Adapted from the hit Broadway music, In The Heights is as cinematic a musical as you'll find.

And for the cast, it was easily the biggest production they've ever worked on.

A massive dance sequence for the song 96,000, young actor Gregory Diaz spent three days in a public swimming pool with a cast of over 500 extras, many of them locals.

"Honestly the energy was just so high and amazing. Unfortunately it was raining those days. The weather wasn't really on our side. The water was cold and I was in there for about two to three hours."

Now the film is on release, the pressure is on for Miranda to keep his neighbours happy

"I still live in Washington Heights. If people don't like the movie I'm gonna hear about it for the rest of my life! So it was an enormous pressure to do the neighbourhood proud." 

Job done I reckon.