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Acclaimed filmmaker Lin-Manuel Miranda has apologised for a lack of Afro-Latino actors in the lead roles for his musical In The Heights.
The film is adapted from Miranda’s 2005 stage production of the same name and had been heralded as a step forward for Latino representation in Hollywood.
The title refers to Washington Heights, a predominantly Latino neighbourhood in New York City.
While the film – directed by Jon M Chu and starring Anthony Ramos in the lead role – has been a critical success and widely praised for its diversity, criticism emerged over a lack of darker skinned actors.
Miranda, who served as a producer on the movie and had an on-screen role, issued an apology on Twitter.
The 41-year-old said: “I started writing In the Heights because I didn’t feel seen. And over the past 20 years all I wanted was for us — ALL of us — to feel seen.
“I’m seeing the discussion around Afro-Latino representation in our film this weekend and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the leading roles.”
Miranda said he can “hear the hurt and frustration over colourism” and admitted the film “fell short”.
He said: “I hear that without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy.
“In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I’m truly sorry. I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening.”
Miranda added he is “dedicated” to “learning and evolving”.
Chu retweeted the statement.
While In The Heights has been a hit with critics, it disappointed at the box office.
It took what trade magazine Variety described as a “lacklustre” 11.4 million dollars (about £8 million) over its four-day opening weekend in North America.