[This article contains spoilers from the movie In the Heights. Read at your own risk!]
It’s been quite a long road to get here, but Lin-Manuel Miranda fans, please rejoice with me. In the Heights is FINALLY out for us to love and embrace and sing along to, and TBH, I’m just about ready to call this the movie of my summer…and it’s only just begun.
Yes, the movie takes inspiration from the Tony Award-winning Broadway show (which, BTW, Lin-Manuel wrote while he was a college student at Wesleyan University—like, what?), and technically has nothing to do with Hamilton. But, we’re talking Hollywood here, and Hollywood loves an Easter egg, so this movie probably couldn’t exist without we giving a nod to a little musical which really put Lin on the map. Here are some of the unexpected Hamilton Easter eggs you might’ve not noticed when watching the movie.
If you’ve gotten this far into the article, then you’re most likely aware Usnavi is the main character in In the Heights. While Lin-Manuel Miranda originated the role on Broadway, this time around, the movie went with a younger (yet just as adorable) actor.
Say hello to our favorite new thirst trap, Anthony Ramos!
Now let me talk you through his connection to Hamilton. Fans of the show may recognize the man from his roles as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the original production. But he has a long-standing relationship with Miranda, starting with portraying Usnavi in regional productions of In the Heights in 2012 and 2018. Eventually, the two met, starred in a few shows together (including 21 Chump Street), and now…they’re here!
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Oh, and Anthony holds Hamilton very close to his heart. He met his fiancée Jasmine Cephas Jones while working on the production, and judging from their appearance at the In the Heights film premiere, they’re actually couple goals.
Well, you can’t have a Lin-Manuel Miranda production without the man not throwing away his shot (sorry). While it wouldn’t make sense for him to step back into his original role for the movie, there’s one role which definitely fits him. Say hello to the Piraguero, here to provide you with only the best Piragua in Washington Heights.
If I have to explain Lin’s connection to Hamilton… *face palm*
“You’ll Be Back”
In one particular scene in the film, Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits) is seen making an important phone call to the Stanford admissions office to try and convince them to let him pay for daughter Nina’s (Leslie Grace) overdue tuition. And like any true office setting, he naturally gets put on hold before reaching an actual representative. Totally feel that.
If you pay extremely close attention to the hold music, you might just recognize a certain melody playing. That’s right, everyone—it’s the famous “Da da da dat da” refrain from “You’ll Be Back!” And if there’s anyone to thank for this idea, it’s the man who wrote the song himself.
“That was indeed a Lin idea, and we wanted to make it a Muzak version,” director Jon M. Chu told TheWrap. “It’s all part of the ‘Lin-ematic Universe.’”
For those familiar with the stage production of In the Heights, you’re well aware there’s a feud between the Piragua Guy and the Mr. Softee ice cream vendor. It’s so well-played in the show, there’s even a song dedicated to it.
Naturally this running gag had to be brought into the movie version, and who better to play the rival food guy than an original member of one of his Broadway shows? Mr. Softee is none other than Christopher Jackson.
While he’s probably most famous for his turn as George Washington in Hamilton, Chris also has a special place in Lin’s In the Heights canon—he originated the role of Benny on Broadway.
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