“The streets are made of music”
One of the most challenging things for a cinematographer to do is translating concepts to visual reality. For cinematographer Alice Brooks, she was tasked with taking Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage musical In the Heights to the big screen for director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), opening up the landscape and vision to explode into Busby Berkeley sequences, complicated crowd elements and countless ‘magic hour’ moments.
You’ve seen Brooks’ work most recently in Apple TV+’s Home Before Dark series and the live action Jem and the Holograms but it’s her brilliant work on In the Heights that will thrust her into the spotlight. Chu even alluded to this on Twitter earlier this week. It’s hard to imagine her work in the film not being recognized during the whirlwind that is award season later this year.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Alice to discuss her work in the film and discuss some of the more difficult aspects of the shoot, like navigating New York City’s ‘no drone’ policy. We touched on everything from train tunnels, 100-degree weather, and what she did to make the film feel personal plus that amazing opening shot.
Warner Bros premieres In the Heights in theaters and on HBO Max June 11, 2021.
Photo: Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection