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Why Carla From In The Heights Looks So Familiar

Broadway heads have been anticipating the "In the Heights" movie for years. According to Playbill, Universal acquired the rights all the way back in 2008. That was when the show was still on Broadway and fronted by Lin Manuel Miranda. But the planned movie was canceled when Universal decided it couldn't find a "bankable Latino star" for the lead, per Variety. The property then moved to the Weinstein Company right before all the Harvey Weinstein accusations came out, where it didn't move forward for obvious reasons. Finally, Warner Bros. won an auction of the show's rights in 2018. Helmed by "Crazy Rich Asians" director John M. Chu, filming began in 2019, with "A Star Is Born"'s Anthony Ramos in the lead. Then COVID-19 shut down theaters, and the film got delayed one last time. Finally – finally! – the film was given a 2021 release in theaters and on HBO Max.

"In the Heights" stars Ramos as Usnavi de la Vega, a bodega owner in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood. The musical documents the many lives of the neighborhood over three summer days, with everyone interconnecting in a rich tapestry. One of the cornerstones of the neighborhood is the local salon, owned by Daniela ("RENT" star Daphne Rubin-Vega). Her assistant: Carla. In the movie version of the story, Carla is in a romantic relationship with Daniela, per CinemaBlend. In this long-gestating movie, Carla is played by Stephanie Beatriz. If the actor looks familiar, you might know her from one of these other roles.

A jealous sister on Modern Family

Comedy fans may have first seen Beatriz on "Modern Family," where she played the long-suffering sister of Carla (Sofia Vergara). Sonia Ramirez lived in Colombia with her mother and sister. In the Season 4 episode "Fulgencio" (via IMDb), Jay (Ed O'Neill) reveals that he had originally been interested in Sonia and not Carla. While getting his car washed, he'd spied Sonia at a diner. He'd sent a slice of pie over to Sonia, but Carla was the one who came out to thank him. Sonia is still bitter about the chance at a better life that she feels Carla stole from her.

Sonia and Carla were eventually able to squash their beef in Season 8 when they realized their fighting was caused by their father withholding approval and love when they were children. "Modern Family" ran for 11 seasons, four of which featured appearances by Beatriz. It's possible the show wanted more appearances by Beatriz, but she started "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" months after her first appearance with the Pritchett clan.

The badass bisexual of Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Beatriz is probably most famous for playing Rosa Diaz on the FOX (later NBC) work com "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Rosa is the toughest and most taciturn member of the Nine-Nine. At first the crush object of Charles, Rosa blossomed into her own person over the show's 8 seasons. She came out as bisexual, as did Beatriz herself (per the Advocate).

Originally, Beatriz auditioned for the role of Amy Santiago, which eventually fell to Melissa Fumero. The writing staff were so taken with Beatriz that they rewrote a character named Meghan into Rosa, and cast Beatriz. The show has been praised for having more than one Latina series regular. The show has been criticized, however, for romanticizing the police. Co-star Terry Crews told Access Hollywood that showrunner Dan Goor threw four finished Season 8 scripts "in the trash" after the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. "We have to start over," he said. "Right now we don't know which direction it's going to go in."

More queer representation on One Day at a Time

Both Beatriz and Fumero have guested on the Netflix (then Pop TV) reboot of "One Day at a Time." In the Season 3 premiere, the Alvarez family reunited at Tía Ophelia's funeral. Fumero and Beatriz, along with pop sensation Gloria Estefan, play extended family members that have somewhat fraught relationships to the Alvarezes we already know and love. Estefan, who also sings the show's theme song, plays Mirtha, the estranged sister of Lydia (Rita Moreno). The two had a falling out because each believes the other stole the heirloom mantilla. Fumero plays Mirtha's daughter, who was besties with Penelope (Justina Machado) before the mantilla drama caused them to be separated.

Beatriz plays Pilar, a member of the family that dresses very butch. Elena (Isabella Gomez), who is still struggling with her lesbian identity, is very excited to maybe have another queer family member. But she doesn't want to make assumptions about Pilar based solely on her appearance. Eventually, Pilar comes out to Elena, and the two bond. It turns out Pilar has been out this whole time, but the rest of the family pretends they do not see it.