After the premiere of “In The Heights”, Lin-Manuel Miranda apologized for not having included enough “dark-skinned Afro-Latinos” in the film, which tells three days of life in the Washington Heights neighborhood, mostly Hispanic and today with a strong Dominican presence.
Shortly after, the Puerto Rican Rita Moreno defended Miranda, also Puerto Rican. “I’m just saying, can’t you just wait a bit and leave him alone,” commented the actress on Stephen Colbert’s CBS show. “They are attacking the wrong person.”
But the next day Moreno, faced with the avalanche of criticism received for defending Lin-Manuel Miranda, retracted: “I am incredibly disappointed in myself. In making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda night on the Colbert Show, I clearly disdained the black people who matter in our Latino community. “
I’m incredibly disappointed with myself. While making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of black lives that matter in our Latin community. It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others.
– Rita Moreno (@TheRitaMoreno) June 17, 2021
Asked about this controversy, also Puerto Rican Benicio del Toro came out in defense of Miranda and “In The Heights”. The actor saw the movie at the cinema. “I really liked it,” he commented. And although he acknowledged not being aware of the claim made to his compatriot, he asked for a “break” for him.
“You have to give the writer and the filmmaker a little space. Because they made a film that gave many Latinos a lot of work “Del Toro answered El Diario in a telephone interview during the promotion of his next film, “No Sudden Move.”
“If this were Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fourth film and there were no dark-skinned Afro-Latinos, we could criticize him. But let’s give it a breakecito to the man. He employed many Latino actors. There is a lot of Latin talent there “Del Toro told us.
“It is the first film that he makes of his work, right? You have to see what he does [después]. At least he made a movie. And it is not easy to make a movie with many Latinos, a history of Latinos. Let’s applaud that first “he added.
No Sudden Move
Del Toro is promoting “No Sudden Move,” which premieres July 1. In the film he plays a gangster in Detroit in 1954. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who already worked with Del Toro on “Traffic” and “Che”. The actor won the Oscar with the first and the Palme d’Or at Cannes for the second.
“Steven and I see the world that happens in front of the cameras very similar. We see reality with the same eyes, “said Del Toro about his work with the American director, with whom he claims to have a” common sense “relationship in which both seek” credible “characters and stories.
“When he called me to play this role and told me that Don Cheadle was the protagonist, I was immediately excited and said yes before reading the script,” said Del Toro. “After doing ‘Traffic’ and ‘Che’ with him, I give him the OK without reading the script.”
“No Sudden Move” is set against the auto industry and racial profiling which led to the disappearance of burgeoning neighborhoods that had a significant African-American community, such as Black Bottom, in Detroit. The film was shot in the same city, in the midst of a pandemic, creating a bubble in which no one got sick, according to the actor.
“It was a hit to make the movie,” said Del Toro.
Interestingly, his character wears a mask for much of the film, but one that covers only the area around his eyes. It should not have been very comfortable to go from an anti-covid mask to that of the character, so in one scene he skipped the script, he covered the woman he was kidnapping with a blanket so that he did not see her face, and he took off his.
“I wasn’t acting there, I wanted to take off my mask,” Del Toro confessed. Soderbergh decided to leave the impromptu scene in the final cut of the film.
In the coming weeks Benicio del Toro will travel to the Cannes Film Festival to promote “The French Dispatch”, film dirigido por Wes Anderson which was shot before “No Sudden Move.”
“I will be traveling. That movie was shot more than a year ago and it had to be put up with. So we are going back to normality ”.