Turn up the volume on your dreams. #InTheHeightsMovie, only in theaters 2020.………

The creator of “Hamilton” and the director of “Crazy Rich Asians” invite you to the event of the summer, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big… “In the Heights.” Lights up on Washington Heights…The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.

“In the Heights” fuses Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu’s lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience. “In the Heights” stars Anthony Ramos (“A Star is Born,” Broadway’s “Hamilton”), Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton,” “BlacKkKlansman”), singer/songwriter Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera (TV’s “Vida”), Olga Merediz (Broadway’s “In the Heights”), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Broadway’s “Rent”), Gregory Diaz IV (Broadway’s “Matilda the Musical”), Stephanie Beatriz (TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Dascha Polanco (TV’s “Orange is the New Black”) and Jimmy Smits (the “Star Wars” films).

Chu is directing the film from a screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes; it is based on the musical stage play, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and concept by Miranda. “In the Heights” is produced by Miranda and Hudes, together with Scott Sanders, Anthony Bregman and Mara Jacobs. David Nicksay and Kevin McCormick served as executive producers. Behind the camera, Chu is reuniting with his “Crazy Rich Asians” production designer, Nelson Coates, and editor, Myron Kerstein. He is also collaborating with director of photography Alice Brooks (TV’s “The Walking Dead”) and costume designer Mitchell Travers (“Eighth Grade”). The choreography is by Christopher Scott, who previously teamed with Chu on the award-winning “The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.”

“In the Heights” was filmed in New York, primarily on location in the dynamic community of Washington Heights. Slated for release on June 26, 2020, it will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

messiah trailer — watch now

The trailer for the new Netflix series MESSIAH is now up! The series will premiere on Netflix on January 1, 2020.

Keeley Ryan at her says the show is “guaranteed to be your next TV obsession.”

TV Guide says: “this ‘Messiah’ travels the world — from Syria and Israel to Texas and Washington, D.C. — amassing followers for an unknown cause. And it looks pretty believable that this guy is the second coming given the way he vanishes out of surveilled prison cells and walks straight through tornados. Only time (and what looks like a truly excellent binge watch) will tell whether he’s here to convert or con the world.”

Jon M Chu at TED — Representation in Film

On the heels of the breakout success of his film CRAZY RICH ASIANS, director Jon M. Chu @jonmchu reflects on what drives him to create — and makes a resounding case for the power of connection and on-screen representation. Jon’s upcoming film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s IN THE HEIGHTS embodies the ideals he espouses in this speech.

IN THE HEIGHTS stars Anthony Ramos @ARamosofficial, Melissa Barrera @MelissaBarreraM, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace @lesliegrace, Jimmy Smits, Daphne Rubin-Vega @daphnerubinvega , Stephanie Beatriz @iamstephbeatz, Dascha Polanco @SheIsDash, Olga Merediz @TheOlgaMerediz, Marc Anthony @MarcAnthony and Lin-Manuel Miranda @Lin_Manuel.  In theaters from Warner Bros on June 26, 2020.

Producing team: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegria Hudes @quiarahudes,  Scott Sanders @ssandersprods, Mara Jacobs, Anthony Bregman @Antbregman and David Nicksay @davidnicksay.

NYTimes — “STEP UP Is One of Pop Culture’s Most Enduring Franchises”

Never expected to read an appreciation of the Step Up franchise in the New York Times !  Terrific article by Calum Marsh:

By Calum Marsh

In 2006, “Step Up” arrived at the tail end of something like a dance craze in American cinema, an era of sprightly, sweat-streaked films such as “Save the Last Dance,” “You Got Served,” and “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.”

The movie — a low-budget drama about a young ne’er-do-well who strives to prove his worth in a ballet recital at a prestigious inner-city arts school — was an unlikely candidate for blockbuster status, even on the heels of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” which debuted the year before. Yet it proved extraordinarily successful, earning over $100 million worldwide and spawning four lucrative sequels and, most recently, a hit TV series.

Season 2 of that series, “Step Up: High Water,” had its premiere on YouTube Premium in March, and the first episode was watched more than 10 million times in its first week, according to the streaming service. As of early May, it had 17.8 million views.

The franchise’s endurance more than a decade later is even more surprising than the original film’s splash: Such continual triumphs are typically reserved for big, special effects-heavy fantasy epics like “Harry Potter” or “Star Wars,” not modest, cheerful underdog stories about competitive street dancing, in which the only action consists of pops, locks and twirls.

And unlike most long-running properties, the films and the show share little in common with one another: There’s no ongoing story, no recurring central figure for audiences to emotionally invest in from sequel to sequel. (Moose, a fan favorite played by Adam G. Sevani, is virtually the only significant character to appear in more than two of the five movies.)

What is it about “Step Up” and its various offshoots that have made it apparently so irresistible to viewers for so long?

For “Step Up,” Shankman hired Anne Fletcher, a choreographer he describes as his best friend, to direct the film; the script was penned by Duane Adler (“Save the Last Dance”) and Melissa Rosenberg (the “Twilight” movies). Because Shankman and Fletcher had both worked in dance, they were keen, Shankman said, “to have people who could really dance.” They cast the up-and-coming actor and dancer Channing Tatum as the lead.

When the movie was released in August 2006, Shankman and Fletcher were in Toronto, working on the remake of “Hairspray.” Shankman remembers going to a theater on opening night and being surprised to find “a line around the block to get in.” The movie cost $12 million to make. It earned that back nearly 10 times over.

Around this time, Universal Studios had begun churning out a number of direct-to-video sequels to “Bring It On,” the popular high school cheerleader comedy. Summit Entertainment, the studio behind “Step Up,” approached Shankman and his co-producers about doing the same. “We went, ‘Sure, why not?’” said Shankman.

“Step Up 2: The Streets,” released in 2008, feels more like a spinoff than a true sequel. Tyler Gage, the delinquent-turned-dancer played by Tatum in the first “Step Up,” appears only for a few moments to pass the baton to the new protagonist Andie, played by Briana Evigan.

The story is similar: Kids from opposite sides of the tracks find each other, again. But where the first film strove to prioritize drama over dance, the second is more interested in the acrobatic gyrating of its capable stars. If “Step Up” is a “drama with a dance element,” “Step Up 2” is a dance movie straight-up.

“Step Up 2” is considerably more entertaining than its predecessor, full of ecstatic brio and Busby Berkeley-ish panache. That’s thanks in part to its director, Jon M. Chu, who went on to make last year’s enormously successful “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Chu delights in the physicality of his young performers, and rather than pretend to care about the story, he relishes every opportunity to linger on bodies in motion — often at the expense of conventional niceties like character development and plot.

“My whole thing was that if I’m going to do a dance movie sequel, I want more dancing,” Chu explained in a recent phone interview. “The first one had maybe four or five dance numbers. I wanted to fill this one with dance. It’s the language of the movie.”

The goal, he added, was to make “sort of a dancical” — a musical with dance instead of song.

“Jon always saw these kids as like superheroes,” Shankman said. “He really put front and foremost their talent, as opposed to the drama of their story.”

The shift in emphasis proved to be a turning point for the series. The studio was so impressed by Chu’s vision it decided to scrap its original direct-to-video plan for “Step Up 2,” quadruple its budget and release it theatrically. It became an even bigger hit than “Step Up,” and the studio quickly greenlit a third.

PITCH PERFECT 3 – Bellas for life !

Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins all return and are joined by additions including John Lithgow and Ruby Rose. Pitch Perfect 3 is executive produced by David Nicksay, Jason Moore and Scott Niemeyer, produced by Paul Brooks of Gold Circle Entertainment and Max Handelman & Elizabeth Banks of Brownstone Productions, and is directed by Trish Sie (Step Up All In).

Happy Birthday, John Lithgow!

It’s John Lithgow’s birthday, and he is celebrating by publishing a crossword puzzle in the New York Times! 

The multi-talented actor has earned two Tonys, six Emmys, two Golden Globes, three SAG awards, and four Drama Desk awards, as well as having been nominated for two Oscars and four Grammys.

Now he’s added Puzzle Constructor to the list of accomplishments. John Lithgow, with his collaborating puzzle constructor, the veteran puzzlemaster Brendan Emmett Quigley. Photo: NYTimes

When asked by the Times to name his favorite word, he declines at first, but ultimately “comes up with ‘eldritch,’ an intriguing word that means sinister and eerie.” Fitting for a man born twelve days before Halloween!

Here’s his puzzle:

Lithgow appears as Fat Amy’s dad in PITCH PERFECT 3. “I didn’t know how to handle the job offer when it came in. I hadn’t seen the Pitch Perfect movies,” John told Hollywood Life.

“It was very hard to squeeze it into my schedule so I told my agent, ‘Let’s not even try for this.’  He said, ‘Okay, but just watch Pitch Perfect 2, so you know what you’re turning down.”

John then revealed that as soon as he saw Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, he couldn’t stop laughing at the movie. “I called my agent and said, ‘Get me back in this! I want to do this,’” adding he immediately started doing an Australian accent and saying, “I want to be close to my daughter!”

PITCH PERFECT 3 stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, John Lithgow, DJ Khaled, Hana Mae Lee, Ruby Rose, Chrissie Fit, Ester Dean, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. Opens December 2017.



Get a behind-the-scenes look at all the action from Birth of the Dragon, the film inspired by the epic fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man, in theaters now.

The fight is ON. See the story behind the epic CONTROVERSIAL fight in San Francisco in 1964. Inspired by a true story.



Bruce Lee fought Wong Jack Man in one of the most controversial fights of all time. Above is the all-new trailer for BIRTH OF THE DRAGON, inspired by this true event, in theaters August 25th.

The outcome of this fight is passionately disputed among martial artists, yet most people have never heard about this secret match in 1964. Michael Dorgan writes about the event on

Dorgan calls it “Bruce Lee’s Toughest Fight.”

His account begins, “As a 30-year-old freelance journalist with more than 10 years of training in Okinawan Karate and Korean Taekwondo, I moved to San Francisco from the Midwest in 1978 primarily to learn Chinese martial arts. The teacher I found there was Wong Jack Man, and from his students and other martial artists I began to hear whispers of an epic fight he had had with Bruce Lee. Master Wong himself, however, never mentioned the fight. But after a lot of cajoling, he finally agreed to give his first public account of the battle, which was published in the July, 1980, issue of Official Karate magazine.” Wong Jack Man, 1964. 

Dorgan sets the stage: “It may have been the most savagely elegant exhibition of unarmed combat of the century. Yet, at a time when top fighters tend to display their skills only in huge closed-circuited arenas, this battle was fought in virtual secrecy behind locked doors. And at a time when millions of dollars can ride on the outcome of a championship fight, these champions of another sort competed not for money, but for more personal and passionate reasons.

“The time was late winter, 1964; the setting was a small kung fu school in Oakland, California. Poised at the center of the room, with approximately 140 pounds packed tightly on his 5’7″ frame, was the operator of the school, a 24-year old martial artist of Chinese ancestry but American birth who, within a few years, would skyrocket to international attention as a combination fighter/film star. A few years after that, at age 32, he would die under mysterious circumstances. His name, of course, was Bruce Lee.”Bruce Lee, 1964

Dorgan continues, “Also poised in the center of the room was another martial artist. Taller but lighter, with his 135 pounds stretched thinly over 5’10”, this fighter was also 24 and also of Chinese descent. Born in Hong Kong and reared in the south of mainland China, he had only recently arrived in San Francisco’s teeming Chinatown, just across the bay from Oakland. Though over the next 15 years he would become widely known in martial arts circles and would train some of America’s top martial artists, he would retain a near disdain for publicity and the commercialization of his art, and consequently would remain unknown to the general public. His name: Wong Jack Man.”

Wong Jack Man, 1964

Dorgan elaborates: “What happened after the fighters approached the center of the room has become a chapter of Chinatown’s “wild history,” that branch of Chinese history usually anchored in fact but always richly embellished by fantasy, a history that tells much about a time and place with little that’s reliable about any particular incident. Exactly how the fight proceeded and just who won are still matters of controversy, and will likely remain so. But from the few available firsthand accounts and other evidence, it is possible to piece together a reasonably reliable picture that reveals two overriding truths. First, considering the skill of the opponents and the complete absence of referees, rules, and safety equipment, it was one hell of a fight that took place that day in December. And second, Bruce Lee, who was soon to rival Mao Tse Tung as the world’s most famous Chinese personality, was dramatically affected by the fight…”

The events of the fight differ in accounts from the time. Even the outcome is unclear: who really won? Both sides claim victory.

But this much is undisputed: Bruce changed his fighting style after the showdown, created a new martial art form called Jeet Kune Do, and landed his first starring role in Hollywood as Kato on the Green Hornet. He went on to become a huge star and an everlasting icon of pop culture — the Dragon. Bruce Lee, 1966  

So come see the movie August 25 and witness the BIRTH OF THE DRAGON !





BlumHouse Tilt and WWE Studios have just released the new trailer for BIRTH OF THE DRAGON.

Collider reports:

“One of the most dramatic and controversial fights of Bruce Lee‘s career did not take place on the silver screen or even in front of a cheering crowd but rather behind closed doors, a private mano a mano contest between martial arts masters. Believed to have stemmed from a conflict over Lee teaching Chinese martial arts to Caucasian men, the tension escalated to the point that Lee and instructor Wong Jack Man came to blows in a bout for honor. A new trailer for Birth of the Dragon sets up this story in dramatic fashion.

To be clear, this film isn’t a straight biopic of Lee’s life and career but rather takes inspiration from this legendary fight. It took place before Lee’s Hollywood star status really took off, though he had already been acting in Chinese films from an early age. A couple of years after this match, he would star as Kato on both The Green Hornet and in a few episodes of Batman before embracing his feature film status.”