Rita Moreno defends Lin-Manuel Miranda after 'In the Heights' casting criticism
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Actress Rita Moreno defended Lin-Manuel Miranda during an interview this week after the “Hamilton” creator apologized over criticism that the newly released film version of his musical “In the Heights” lacked representation of dark-skinned Afro-Latino people.

Moreno, promoting her documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” said on Tuesday on “The Late Show” that the criticism targeting Miranda and the “In the Heights” film “really upsets me.”

“You can never do right, it seems,” Moreno said. “This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn’t do it. I mean, I would love to say I did, but I couldn’t. Lin-Manuel has done that, really singlehandedly, and I’m thrilled to pieces.”

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“Can’t you just wait a while and leave it alone?” Moreno asked. “There’s a lot of people who are Puertorriqueños, who are also from Guatemala, who are dark and who are also fair. We are all colors in Puerto Rico."

“It would be so nice if they hadn’t come up with that and just left it alone, just for now. I mean, they’re really attacking the wrong person,” she added. 

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Miranda co-produced Moreno’s documentary, which focuses on her life and career. 

The “Hamilton” creator on Monday apologized over the criticism facing the movie, sharing in a statement on Twitter that “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.”

“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,” Manuel said. 

The “In the Heights” film only features dark-skinned Afro-Latino performers in background and dance roles.

A clip from an interview with the movie’s director, John M. Chu, spread online this week after The Root’s Felice León noted that “most of your principal actors were light-skinned or white-passing Latinx people.” 

Chu said, “That was something we talked about, and I needed to be educated about, of course.” 

“We’re not going to get everything right in a movie. We tried our best on all fronts of it,” he added.