Leslie Grace shared her experiences of tackling the song Breathe and her first acting role (Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures)
In The Heights star Leslie Grace resonated a lot with her character Nina Rosario in the movie, from struggling with the weight of other people’s expectations as well as feelings of imposter syndrome as she took on her first acting role – in a blockbuster summer release, no less.
The musical, which was first performed in 2005 before going on to a three-year Broadway run in 2008 and Olivier Award success in the UK in 2016, has several breakout songs, including Nina’s big solo Breathe.
Talking to Metro.co.uk about how she personally related to the song, Leslie praised the ‘beautiful job’ that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes did with the songs and script, ‘really capturing things that we struggle to put into words’, which is something she confessed to having difficulty with.
She explained: ‘It [Breathe] was super relatable, I mean I felt like I was reading parts of my own life when I listened to Breathe – and even just from the audition process, like reading Nina’s sides.
‘I had never read words – I had never heard or read my own experience reflected so beautifully in words before.’
Bringing up a line from the song, the 26-year-old continued: ‘These little bits of feeling like the whole weight of the world is on your shoulders or all your family’s dreams [are] on your shoulders, and that line that she says, “They’re not worried about me” – feeling like, “Man, I’m really struggling and everyone thinks that I’m doing great” – a lot of us feel that.’
Gregory Diaz IV as Sonny and Leslie Grace as Nina Rosario (Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures)
That pressure was something Leslie also tried to channel into her performance as the three-time Latin Grammy Award nominee took on her first acting role.
She continued, laughing: ‘I felt a lot of that in doing this movie! I don’t want to let anybody down and that’s what Nina feels! I had calls with my parents every day, like, “Yo, this is hard, I don’t know if I’m supposed to be here! I don’t know! I’ve never done this before!”’
Chatting more about imposter syndrome, which is when an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and fears being exposed as a fraud, Leslie pointed out she could use that too in Nina’s journey as the first character to leave the Washington Heights neighbourhood for college.
Nina is a high-achieving student who has made it to the prestigious Stanford University, but is having a hard time.
Leslie with her co-star Corey Hawkins as Benny (Picture: Macall Polay/Warner Bros. Pictures)
‘I don’t know what it is to be at Stanford, I didn’t even go to college! The irony of all of that. So I just kept reminding myself to use it all.’
Leslie’s co-star Melissa Barrera (known for Starz series Vida and set to star in the upcoming Scream movie) plays lead Usnavi’s (Anthony Ramos) love interest Vanessa, who dreams of leaving Washington Heights for a career in fashion.
Melissa with co-star Anthony Ramos, who plays main character Usnavi (Picture: Macall Polay/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Talking about the excitement around the project and composer and lyricist Lin Manuel-Miranda’s continuing global domination, Melissa confessed to be potentially the most excited person for the In The Heights movie.
She shared: ‘I’ve been excited for this project since it was on Broadway – I was hyped up enough for the world, y’know, there was enough hype in my body to compensate for anyone else!’
The 30-year-old also talked about how Hamilton’s massive success has encouraged audiences to get just as hyped.
Melissa and Leslie in the salon with co-stars Stephanie Beatriz, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Dascha Polanco (Picture: Macall Polay/Warner Bros. Pictures)
‘It definitely does feel like with the release of Hamilton on a streaming platform and everyone being able to enjoy Lin’s genius, everyone that hadn’t seen Hamilton on Broadway or on a stage kind of hopped on the Lin-Manuel Miranda train and started asking what else he’s doing.’
‘It benefited us to have Hamilton come first and people thinking that this is Lin’s follow-up, even though it was Lin’s first show that he wrote.’
In The Heights is out June 18.
Credit: Original article published here.