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The G.I. Joe: Retaliation helmer is in talks to tackle the bodega-set project, which is based on the Tony Award-winning musical that put Miranda on the map before he became a household name with Hamilton.
TWC is moving fast to get the project off the ground after recently setting it up at the company. Miranda, who is producing, met with Chu recently to discuss the adaptation that is set in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan and centers on a bodega owner who has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune. Miranda, who starred in the stage version in his 20s, hasn’t decided yet whether he will lead the cast of the film or opt for a younger actor.
Chu is no stranger to the dance-film genre, having launched his feature helming career with Step Up 2: The Streets, followed by Step Up 3D and the concert movie Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.
In the Heights was initially set up at Universal, and after years in development, the studio opted to cut the project loose in 2011, balking at the Kenny Ortega-helmed film’s $37 million budget — a move that was met with surprise considering the success of the stage version. The musical was nominated for 13 Tonys and won four, including the top prize. After that experience, Miranda decided to make a scrappier version (TWC plans to make the movie for about $15 million).
Scott Sanders also is producing alongside Mara Jacobs. Quiara Alegria Hudes wrote the current screenplay, while Marc Klein penned an earlier draft.
Chu most recently directed Lionsgate‘s Now You See Me 2, which opens today. He also is attached to helm Crazy Rich Asians for producer Nina Jacobson.
Chu is repped by WME, Principato-Young and attorney Allison Binder.
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