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Universal ‘In the Heights’ with Marc Klein

'TMI' writer to pen musical adaptation for studio

Universal Pictures is moving forward with musical “In the Heights” and has tapped scribe Marc Klein to tackle the adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit.

U originally hired the show’s book writer, Quiara Alegria Hudes, to pen the script. But Klein, who recently sold the Ryan Reynolds-Anna Faris vehicle “TMI” to the studio, has been brought in to give the priority project a fresh set of eyes. Klein is expected to bring his draft in quickly as U is eyeing an August start date in New York to stay consistent with the play, which is set in the summer.

Kenny Ortega will direct “In the Heights,” which spans three days in Gotham’s Washington Heights neighborhood, where a bodega owner who inherited his grandmother’s lottery windfall plots his retirement to a Dominican Republic beach. As he bids farewell to his customers on the block, he becomes conflicted about leaving behind a group that has become family.

Klein is working closely with the musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will reprise his starring role. Miranda wrote the lyrics and music and starred as bodega owner Usnavi in the play both Off Broadway and in its Main Stem transfer. The film will likely contain most of the stage musical’s numbers as well as one new song written specifically for the bigscreen.

Meryl Poster, who shepherded Klein’s screenplay “Serendipity” when she was an exec at Miramax, is producing. Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Jill Furman Willis, all producers of the stage musical, are exec producing.

After the success of “Mamma Mia!,” U is aiming to bring a number of musicals to the bigscreen including a “Mamma Mia!,” sequel, “Wicked” and a remake of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

Klein is repped by UTA.

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