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Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about journey of 'In The Heights'

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This week marks the end of a long journey for Lin-Manuel Miranda, one that began when he started writing his first musical at the age of 19. Before he ever created "Hamilton," he was thinking about life where he grew up "In the Heights."

Video Transcript

- It is one of the most anticipated movies this summer. "In the Heights" premiered last night at the Tribeca Festival with screenings throughout New York City. The movie is based on the Broadway musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda while he was still in college. Entertainer reporter Sandy Kenyon spoke with him, and he's here now with more. Sandy.

Liz, today marks the end of a long journey for Lin-Manuel Miranda, a journey that began when he started writing his first musical at the age of just 19 years old. "In the Heights" went on to win four Tony Awards on Broadway, including one as the best musical of 2008 long before the show was reconceived as a film.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: (SINGING) Alexander Hamilton.

SANDY KENYON: Before he was Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda was in the heights where he grew up to write a Broadway musical that became a movie more than a decade after we first met at the cast recording of the original stage show.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: It feels like we've come full circle, the fact that I get to talk to you.

SANDY KENYON: The Tribeca Festival opened with a screening of the movie in Washington Heights in the neighborhood where Miranda still lives and just blocks from where the film was made.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: Filming things you just couldn't do on stage. We're going to do "96,000," but we're going to do it at the Highbridge Pool with 500 people like an Esther Williams number. We're going to do "When the Sun Goes Down," but we're going to dance up the side of a building and defy gravity.

SANDY KENYON: What do you gain by making the movie within the neighborhood it's designed to celebrate?

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: You gain everything. You gain a gut level authenticity check at every moment from the moment you're casting and realizing every single cast member has got to look right at home on the corner of 181st Street or 175th Street.

- We all had a suenito, and when it came to dreams, we had to keep scraping by.

SANDY KENYON: Their dreams lie at the heart of "In the Heights" just as his dreams once did.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: There's layers and layers of my life in every frame of the movie.

- (SINGING) --taking a flight to a couple of days in the life of what it's like--

- (ALL) --in Washington Heights.

SANDY KENYON: Miranda originally wrote "In the Heights" for himself and played the lead role on Broadway, but he thought he was too old by the time the movie came to be filmed. So Anthony Ramos plays his old part, and Miranda appears in a cameo role. Now, to watch my full interview with him just head to our station app on Apple TV via Roku and other devices. I'll review "In the Heights" at this same time tomorrow. Dave and Liz.

- I also happen to know that that cameo role is based on his grandfather. This guy just keeps bringing it full circle, full circle--

- That's incredible.

- --ful circle. Fabulous stuff.

- Yeah, can't wait.

- Thanks a lot, Sandy.