West Side Story (2021 film)
|West Side Story|
Teaser poster with original release date
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Written by||Tony Kushner|
|Based on||Romeo and Juliet |
by William Shakespeare
|Distributed by||20th Century Studios|
West Side Story is an upcoming American romantic musical drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner and choreography by Justin Peck. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, which is based loosely on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. 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. It stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as the film's leads, alongside Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll and Brian d'Arcy James, as well as Rita Moreno, a star of the original 1961 film, appearing in a supporting role.
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.
- Ansel Elgort as Tony
- Rachel Zegler as Maria
- Ariana DeBose as Anita
- David Alvarez as Bernardo
- Mike Faist as Riff
- Corey Stoll as Police Lieutenant Schrank
- Brian d'Arcy James as Police Sergeant Krupke
- Rita Moreno as Valentina
- Curtiss Cook as Abe
- Kevin Csolak as Diesel
- 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
- 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
In March 2014, Steven Spielberg first expressed interest in directing a remake of West Side Story. This prompted 20th Century Fox to acquire the rights to the project. Tony Kushner, who previously worked with Spielberg on 2005's Munich and 2012's Lincoln, revealed in a July 2017 interview that 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. In a 2020 interview, Spielberg told Vanity Fair: "West Side Story was actually the first piece of popular music our family ever allowed into the home. I... fell completely in love with it as a kid."
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. This was followed a few days later with an open casting call issued for the characters Maria, Tony, Anita and Bernardo. Additional open casting calls were hosted in New York City in April, and in Orlando, Florida in May. In July, the fifth Indiana Jones film was pushed back, allowing Spielberg to begin pre-production on West Side Story.
Justin Peck was hired to choreograph the film in September 2018, with Ansel Elgort cast in the film as Tony. In November, Eiza González emerged as a contender for the role of Anita. Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film, was cast as Valentina, a reworked version of the character Doc. 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. In March 2019, Corey Stoll and Brian d'Arcy James joined the cast. A month later, the rest of the ensemble comprising the Jets and Sharks factions was announced.
Filming took place in Harlem and other Manhattan locations and in Flatlands, Brooklyn, in New York City in July 2019. There were ten days of shooting in Paterson, New Jersey, where an outdoor set was built, in August 2019. Filming also took place in Newark and other parts of Essex County, New Jersey. It wrapped on September 27, 2019.
Composer David Newman arranged and adapted Bernstein's original score for the film. Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted the orchestra during the film's recording sessions, with Jeanine Tesori serving as vocal coach.
West Side Story was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on December 18, 2020 by 20th Century Studios. However, in September 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, parent company Disney delayed the release date to December 10, 2021, which would coincide with the 60th anniversary of the release of the original 1961 film.
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