West Side Story (2020 film)

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West Side Story
Directed bySteven Spielberg
Produced by
Screenplay byTony Kushner
Based on
Music by
CinematographyJanusz Kamiński
Edited by
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 18, 2020 (2020-12-18)
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[1]

West Side Story is an upcoming American romantic musical film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner. The film stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler and is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The film's screenplay is expected to hew more closely to the Broadway script than to the 1961 film adaptation directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins.[2]

Produced by 20th Century Fox and Amblin Entertainment, West Side Story is scheduled to be released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in the United States on December 18, 2020.[3]


Teenagers Tony and Maria, despite having affiliations with rival street gangs, the white Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks, fall in love in 1950s New York City.[4]




  • Ezra Menas as Anybodys
  • Ben Cook as Mouthpiece
  • Sean Harrison Jones as Action
  • Patrick Higgins as Baby John
  • Paloma Garcia-Lee as Graziella
  • Maddie Ziegler as Velma[6]


  • Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino
  • Ana Isabelle as Rosalia
  • Julius Anthony Rubio as Quique
  • Ricardo Zayas as Chago
  • Sebastian Serra as Braulio
  • Carlos Sánchez Falú as Pipo


Steven Spielberg first expressed interest in directing a remake of West Side Story in March 2014. This prompted 20th Century Fox to acquire the rights to the project.[7] Tony Kushner, who previously worked with Spielberg on 2005's Munich and 2012's Lincoln, revealed in a July 2017 interview he was writing the screenplay for the film, stating he would be leaving the musical numbers intact, and that the story would be more similar to the original musical than to the 1961 film.[8][9]

In January 2018, it was announced that Spielberg would likely direct the film following completion of filming for a fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise.[10] This was followed a few days later with an open casting call issued for the characters Maria, Tony, Anita and Bernardo.[11] Additional open casting calls were hosted in New York City in April, and in Orlando, Florida in May.[12] In July, the fifth Indiana Jones film was pushed back, allowing Spielberg to begin pre-production on West Side Story.[13]

Justin Peck was hired to choreograph the film in September 2018, with Ansel Elgort cast in the film as Tony.[14][15] In November, Eiza González emerged as a contender for the role of Anita.[16] Rita Moreno was cast as Valentina, a reworked version of the character Doc.[17] In January 2019, newcomer Rachel Zegler was cast in the lead role of Maria, with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, and Josh Andrés Rivera also cast as Anita, Bernardo, and Chino, respectively.[18] In March 2019, Corey Stoll and Brian d'Arcy James joined the cast.[19] A month later, the rest of the ensemble comprising the Jets and Sharks factions was announced.[20]

Composer David Newman is set to arrange and adapt Bernstein's original score for the film. Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has been engaged to conduct the orchestra during the film's recording sessions, with Jeanine Tesori to serve as vocal coach.[21]


On June 17, 2019, it was reported that the film had begun production.[22] Filming is expected to continue in New York City, and northern New Jersey (Newark and Paterson) into August.[23][24][25]


West Side Story is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 18, 2020 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[3]


  1. ^ Matt Donnelly; Brent Lang (August 13, 2019). "Fox Feels the Pressure From Disney as Film Flops Mount". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  2. ^ Chi, Paul (October 23, 2018). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b McPhee, Ryan. "New West Side Story Movie Sets December 2020 Release", Playbill, May 7, 2019
  4. ^ Chi, Paul (October 23, 2018). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  5. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. "Tony Nominee Mike Faist, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Maddie Ziegler, More Join Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story Movie", Playbill, April 16, 2019
  6. ^ Sorren, Martha. "Melissa Ziegler Happily Left Fame Behind After Dance Moms", Woman's Day, July 1, 2019
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (2014-03-05). "Fox Revives West Side Story for Steven Spielberg as Town Ponders Stacey Snider Move and DreamWorks' Future". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  8. ^ Teeman, Tim (2017-07-19). "Tony Kushner: Why I'm Writing a Play About Donald Trump". Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  9. ^ Chi, Paul. "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics, Vanity Fair, October 23, 2018
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (2018-01-19). "Steven Spielberg Eyes Indiana Jones & 'West Side Story' Atop Next Directing Vehicles". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  11. ^ "Steven Spielberg Looks for Spanish-Speaking Actors for His 'West Side Story' Remake". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  12. ^ Desk, Movies News. "Steven Spielberg's WEST SIDE STORY Remake Will Hold Open Call This Weekend in NYC!". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2018-07-10). "'Indiana Jones 5' Shifts To 2021, 'Mary Poppins Returns' Moves Up A Week & More Disney Release-Date Moves". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  14. ^ Evans, Greg (2018-09-28). "Broadway's Justin Peck To Choreograph Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  15. ^ "Ansel Elgort to Star in Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  16. ^ "Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Remake Cast Might Add 'Baby Driver' Actress Eiza González". /Film. 2018-11-07. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2018-11-27). "Rita Moreno Returns To 'West Side Story': EGOT Winner To Play The Role Of Valentina In Steven Spielberg's Remake". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2019-01-14). "Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Finds Its Maria, Anita, Bernardo & Chino". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  19. ^ Corey Stoll & Brian d’Arcy James Join Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’
  20. ^ Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Sets Sharks/Jets Chorus Including Riff & Rosalia
  21. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (May 17, 2019). "Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel Join Music Staff of Spielberg-Helmed West Side Story Movie". Playbill.
  22. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (June 17, 2019). "'West Side Story': First Look At The Jets & The Sharks In Steven Spielberg's Musical Update". Deadline. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  23. ^ https://www.nj.com/politics/2019/08/spielbergs-west-side-story-joker-get-9m-in-tax-credits-for-filming-in-nj.html
  24. ^ Beckerman, Jim. "West Side Story movie set going up in Paterson ahead of filming", North Jersey Record, July 3, 2019
  25. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy. "Spielberg's West Side Story headed to Newark as production readies Paterson set. Feel pretty yet?", NJ.com, August 2, 2019

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