Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jimmy Smits is nearing a deal to join Anthony Ramos and Corey Hawkins in Jon M. Chu’s feature adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s musical In the Heights for Warner Bros., Collider has exclusively learned.
In the Heights, which won four Tony Awards, follows a bodega owner names Usnavi (Ramos) who strikes it rich and plans to leave his Latino neighborhood, only to have second thoughts. The film will feature a large ensemble whose storylines come to a head during a blackout one sweltering summer.
Smits will play Kevin, a proud, hardworking businessman and the father of Nina, the film’s female lead, who the neighborhood admires as “the one who made it out.” Sources say Bronx music sensation Leslie Grace is the choice for that role, but her involvement remains unconfirmed at this time. Kevin is also Benny’s boss, and he refuses to accept the young man (Hawkins) as his daughter’s beau.
Anthony Bregman, Mara Jacobs, Scott Sanders and Miranda are producing In the Heights, for which Quiara Alegría Hudes is writing the script.
Smits is a 12-time Emmy nominee who won for L.A. Law and took home a Golden Globe for NYPD Blue. He recently starred on How to Get Away With Murder and played Bail Organa in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He’s represented by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Chu and Miranda are both red-hot right now following the success of Crazy Rich Asians and Hamilton, respectively. In the Heights is a high-priority project for Warner Bros. and the duo haven’t had any trouble landing their first choices.