In 2012, Anthony Ramos was recent into his performing profession, enjoying Sonny, the youthful cousin of the lead, in a regional manufacturing of In the Heights. Less than a decade later, the 29-year-old performer has taken over for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as Usnavi within the extremely anticipated film musical adaptation whereas he continues to inch nearer and nearer to superstardom.
In addition to In the Heights, which debuts in theaters and on HBO Max this Friday, the actor can also be showing as Eladio reverse Uzo Aduba within the HBO reboot of In Treatment. Both roles will probably be adopted by even larger movies, a 2022 sci-fi epic, Distant, and the most recent installment of the Transformers movie franchise.
But as Ramos tells ET in a Zoom dialog from Montreal, the place he’s in manufacturing on the untitled sequel, it wasn’t simple getting up to now. “It’s been so hard for me, especially being a Puerto Rican from the hood, I already had all the things going against me,” he says.
After getting his begin on the highway, Ramos lastly bought his large break, originating the twin roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in Hamilton, the wildly profitable musical biopic about certainly one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton.
“We knew we were about to be a part of something that was going to change all of our lives,” the actor mentioned in 2017, reflecting on his two-year run within the position, which began Off-Broadway at The Public Theater earlier than turning into a Tony Award-winning smash. It was ultimately captured on digital camera in a movie launched on Disney+ final 12 months.
From there, like lots of his Hamilton co-stars, Ramos made the transition from the stage to the display screen with small, but notable back-to-back roles in Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s remake of A Star Is Born, Spike Lee’s Netflix sequence She’s Gotta Have It and the reboot of Will & Grace.
While none of them individually made him a star, he did get observed as a captivating and good-looking scene-stealer, displaying promise of what’s to return if given the fitting half. That is till he landed the position of Usnavi, making him the “Puerto Rican James Dean,” in line with his co-star Olga Merediz.
“That’s crazy,” Ramos says when he hears about her comparability, whereas including that coming from Merediz, “that means a lot.”
In truth, she was a part of the unique 2008 Broadway manufacturing that he noticed when he was recent out of school, whereas going to 1 failed audition after the subsequent. “I wasn’t finding a lot of roles,” Ramos remembers. Starting to burn out, seeing her on stage with the remainder of the solid was the “inspiration to keep going.”
He provides, “That night changed the game for me. And that gave me the extra dose that I needed to keep going.”
And in the case of starring within the movie adaptation, which was directed by Jon M. Chu and produced by Miranda, who additionally has a cameo position, it’s been one of many best experiences of Ramos’ life.
After seeing himself represented on stage and impressed to maintain going, he in flip will get to do the identical for the Latinx group that can watch him and his co-stars convey the musical to life on display screen. “For many years, the Latin[x] community, we haven’t been able to tell our story in this way,” he mentioned in October 2019, shortly after the movie wrapped manufacturing in New York City.
Not solely that, however Ramos will get to shine like he has by no means earlier than. As Usnavi, who longs to return to the Dominican Republic whereas torn about presumably leaving the place he calls dwelling, he brings a lot charisma and real emotion to the display screen.
But for the actor, In the Heights is only one of many issues he desires and is ready to do in his profession, particularly now that he’s graduated from scene-stealer to main actor. “Like In Treatment is very different from In the Heights, which will be very different from Transformers, which is very different from Distant,” he notes.
When it involves the HBO reboot specifically, Ramos was drawn to it as a result of he’s “never seen a show about mental health like this” — and that the position was an unbelievable problem for him.
“You’re just allowing the words to do the work. There ain’t no dancing, ain’t no music. No stunts — you ain’t jumping off cliffs. Nothing. You’re not doing any of that,” Ramos says, whereas including how a lot of “an amazing experience” engaged on the sequence was particularly after taking pictures Distant, which required him to put on a 30-pound spacesuit.
And with every new position or undertaking, it’s a possibility to “not only prove to myself, but prove to the world, you can do that,” Ramos says, including that it’s a “blessing” to have the ability to lead a franchise like Transformers. “I always wanted to be the first Puerto Rican superhero… [and] now I get to be in a film where I’ll be able to do that.”
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