In the Heights movie cast guide - full list of characters and actors
Everything you need to know about the cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical adaptation.
More than 20 years after Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the first draft – and 13 years after its Broadway debut – In the Heights is finally making its way onto the big screen.
The cast assembled for the film adaptation is largely different from the stage version, but a couple of stars do keep their place, including Olga Merediz, who reprises her role as Abuela Claudia, and Miranda himself, who takes on the much smaller role of Piragüero having originally starred as main character Usnavi.
There is no place in the film for Vanessa Hudgens, who played the role of Vanessa during the 2018 Broadway Center Stage production, but Anthony Ramos – who also appeared in that production – leads the cast as Usnavi.
Speaking about the cast, director Jon M Chu tells RadioTimes.com and other press, "We had to find people who could speak all the languages of the movie, go from dialogue and acting to music, to movement and express it not just as a performance.
"All these people, what they brought when I first met them was truthfulness, the truthfulness from Lin’s music that he wrote about the streets that he grew up in, and the love that Quiara put in the words that these people had to be able to understand instinctively, and translate it and express it in any way possible – whether it was dialogue or music."
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast of In the Heights, including who they're playing and where you might have seen them before.
Anthony Ramos plays Usnavi de la Vega
Who is Usnavi? The main character and narrator, Usnavi is a likeable and hard-working bodega owner. He dreams of moving home to the Dominican Republic, where his late parents were originally from before they moved to New York.
What else has Anthony Ramos been in? Ramos is no stranger to the work of Lin-Manuel Miranda, having originated the roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in Hamilton. On the big screen, he's previously appeared in A Star is Born and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, while he voiced the character King Trollex in the animated film Trolls World Tour. He also starred as Mars Blackmon in 19 episodes of Netflix series She's Gotta Have It.
Leslie Grace plays Nina Rosario
Who is Nina? Nina was born and bred in Washington Heights and has recently returned from Stanford University, where she was having a hard time settling in and felt alienated as a result. Although she wants to drop out she has a hard time persuading her dad that it's the right thing to do, especially since she is the first person in her family to go to college.
What else has Leslie Grace been in? Renowned for her career as a singer/songwriter, Grace has won multiple Latin Grammy Award nominations. This will be her first film role.
Ariana Greenblatt plays young Nina and Ariana S. Gómez plays 12-year-old Nina.
Melissa Barrera plays Vanessa Morales
Who is Vanessa? A young and ambitious fashion designer, Vanessa hopes to start her career in downtown New York, but is currently working at the local salon, Daniela's. She is also Usnavi's love interest.
What else has Melissa Barrera been in? Barrera has appeared in several telenovelas in her homeland Mexico, and first found fame in the US appearing as the lead character on Starz drama Vida. In the Heights is her biggest screen role to date, but she is also slated to appear in the upcoming Scream reboot and the upcoming Carmen adaptation.
Olga Merediz plays "Abuela" Claudia
Who is Claudia? The de-facto Abuela (grandmother) of the neighbourhood, Claudia is a pillar of the community, who has been living in Washington Heights since she was a young girl. She commands love and respect from everyone and looks out for the whole community – and she also enjoys buying lottery tickets.
What else has Olga Merediz been in? A veteran of stage and screen, Merediz originated the role of Claudia in the stage version of In the Heights – and won a Tony Award for her performance. On-screen, she has appeared in minor roles on TV shows such as The Sopranos, Shades of Blue and Orange Is the New Black, while film credits include Requiem for a Dream, The Place Beyond the Pines and Godmothered.
Corey Hawkins plays Benny
Who is Benny? Usnavi's best friend, Benny works as a dispatcher for local car service owner Kevin Rosario – Nina's father – and just happens to be in love with his boss's daughter.
What else has Corey Hawkins been in? Hawkins has a number of notable screen credits to his name, including playing Heath on five episodes of The Walking Dead, in addition to lead roles on 24: Legacy and Survive. On the big screen, he's previously starred as Dr Dre in Straight Outta Compton, in addition to roles in Kong: Skull Island, BlackKklansman and 6 Underground.
Daphne Rubin-Vega plays Daniela
Who is Daniela? The owner of the local salon, Daniela works alongside Cuca and Carla and is considering moving the location of her business.
What else has Daphne Rubin-Vega been in? An acclaimed stage star, Rubin-Vega originated the roles of Mimi Marquez in the Broadway musical Rent and Lucy in the off-Broadway play Jack Goes Boating. On screen, she's appeared in NBC drama Smash and Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene.
Gregory Diaz IV plays Sonny de la Vega
Who is Sonny de la Vega? Usnavi's cousin, Sonny works alongside him at the bodega and can sometimes be a bit too smart for his own good. He is also facing immigration issues.
What else has Gregory Diaz IV been in? This is Diaz's biggest film role to date, but he previously starred as Quentin in two episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and appeared in 2020 film Vampires vs. the Bronx. On stage, he played Bruce in the Broadway transfer of Matilda the Musical in 2018.
Jimmy Smits plays Kevin Rosario
Who is Kevin Rosario? The owner of the local dispatch company, Kevin sold half his business to fund his daughter Nina's college education – and so is not happy with her desire to drop out.
What else has Jimmy Smits been in? Smits is a TV veteran, with famous roles including attorney Victor Sifuentes on L.A. Law, Detective Bobby Simone on NYPD Blue, Matt Santos on The West Wing and Nero Padilla on Sons of Anarchy. His most prominent big-screen role was as Bail Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Rogue One.
Stephanie Beatriz plays Carla
Who is Carla? A hair stylist at Daniela's salon and first-class gossip merchant, Carla is in a relationship with Daniela – a change that was made from the stage play.
What else has Stephanie Beatriz been in? Beatriz is best known for starring as Detective Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, while previous film credits include Pee-wee's Big Holiday, The Light of the Moon and voice roles in Ice Age: Collision Course and The Lego Movie 2.
Dascha Polanco plays Cuca
Who is Cuca? A new character for the film, Cuca is another employee at Daniela's salon, where she works as a hair stylist and manicurist.
What else has Dascha Polanco been in? Polanco's most famous role is as Dayanara "Daya" Diaz on Orange Is the New Black, while big screen credits have included Gimme Shelter, Joy and The Irishman. She's also appeared in episodes of the TV shows The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Russian Doll and When They See Us.
Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Piragüero, the Piragua Guy
Who is Piragüero? A minor character, Piragüero is the owner of a small piragua (a Puerto Rican dessert) stand in the neighbourhood.
What else has Lin-Manuel Miranda been in? As the creator and co-writer of In the Heights, Miranda will need no introduction. He originated the role of Usnavi in the Broadway show, before he found mega fame with his second musical – the global sensation Hamilton. Other on-screen roles for Miranda include Jack in Mary Poppins Returns and Lee Scoresby in His Dark Materials.
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Marc Anthony plays Gapo de la Vega
Who is Gapo de la Vega? Usnavi's uncle and Sonny's father, Gapo de la Vega only appears in one scene in the movie.
What else has Marc Anthony been in? A three-time Grammy Award and six-time Latin Grammy Award winner, Anthony is best known for his music career, but also has several film roles under his belt including Hackers, Bringing out the Dead and Man on Fire. This cameo is his first big-screen appearance since 2006.
In the Heights is released in UK cinemas on Friday 18th June 2021 - you might want to check out the full In the Heights soundtrack to know which tunes to expect. Visit our Movies hub for all the latest news. Looking for something to watch tonight? Check out our TV Guide.