- Marc Anthony delivers a stunning acting performance in a brief “In The Heights” cameo.
- The scene only lasts two minutes but hints at major implications for an important character.
- Director Jon M. Chu praised Anthony for being “so believable” while playing the character.
- Visit the Insider home page for more stories.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for “In The Heights”.
When Marc Anthony arrived on set to film his “In The Heights” cameo, director Jon M. Chu thought the singer would be more of a diva given his fame. But Chu was pleasantly surprised by everything Anthony put into his brief two-minute scene – and thinks Anthony should take on more acting roles after his momentous performance.
“In The Heights,” adapted from a musical of the same name by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes on Broadway, is the story of a community from Washington Heights to New York. One of the people living and working in the neighborhood is teenage Sonny (played by Gregory Diaz IV) who works in his cousin Usnavi’s bodega (played by Anthony Ramos).
A brooding Anthony plays Sonny’s unnamed alcoholic father.
Despite being on screen for just over two minutes and only uttering a few lines of dialogue, Anthony delivers a touching performance in a conversation with Usnavi about Sonny’s future. Anthony’s final line in the film suggests that his teenage son, who was brought to New York City by the Dominican Republican as a child, could be an undocumented immigrant (this is confirmed several scenes later when Sonny breaks down during a rally for DREAMers).
During the promotion of “In The Heights” on Friday, Chu told Insider that Anthony “didn’t even think about making an appearance in the film even though it wasn’t” the greatest. scene ”from the musical.
“First of all, it is So huge“Chu said of the singer’s fame. “He walked out onto the street in Washington Heights and people were coming out of all over. »
The director praised the way Anthony gave his all in the brief performance.
“You think he’s going to be a movie star diva,” he added. “And he takes it all off and he turns into this character. “
Chu continued, “It was this guy – so believable. I was like, ‘Why don’t you make more movies? You should be. ‘ He was so good. He was so truthful in this scene. I didn’t know he was going to bring this. “
Although Anthony is a talented actor, “In The Heights” is the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter’s first role in fifteen years. His last appearance in the cinema dates back to 2006, in the biographical drama “El Cantante” opposite his wife at the time, Jennifer Lopez.
Chu said “In The Heights” is meant to be more “human” than “political”
The film version of “In The Heights” differs from its source in the way it handles Sonny’s script.
In the Broadway and off-Broadway productions of the musical, Sonny is not undocumented. Hudes (who wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation) added this to the plot of the film after writing a separate musical, “Miss You Like Hell,” in 2018, which also talks about immigration.
“In The Heights” deals with the themes of home, community and a sense of belonging. Chu told Insider that it’s hard to have these important conversations without highlighting someone like Sonny who knows where he belongs but is being “told to go” because he has no papers.
The director of “Crazy Rich Asians” added that they had filmed a take of the stage with Anthony that “is actually twice as long” and the filmmakers briefly considered including the longer cut in the film where the Anthony’s character reveals Sonny’s true immigration status at the time, rather than just hinting at it (as he does in the final film).
“Then at the end, we were like, ‘Let’s not tell the audience yet,’” Chu told Insider of the scene with Ramos and Anthony. “We cut it so you weren’t quite sure. Some people will have it, some will not. “
“It has become more dramatic, interesting in a dramatic way,” he added.
Diaz told Teen Vogue in a profile posted Thursday that he wanted to play Sonny in a way that “would uplift and show [undocumented people] in a positive sense. “
“It was a conversation that we just wanted to be something that didn’t define it,” Diaz told the post. “But it exists there and puts regulations on his life because at the end of the day Sonny just wants to be able to grow up and do great things. ”