Last night’s Academy Awards premiered the new trailer for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.
Spielberg showed interest in directing a film adaptation of the 1957 musical back in 2014 which triggered 20th Century Fox to jumped on the rights to the musical and get started with the project. The film has now been delayed for almost a year due to Covid-19, but is finally set to release on December 10th, 2021.
Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner, Tony Kushner wrote and adapted the screenplay, with choreography handled by New York City ballet director, Justin Peck. The film stars Ansel Elgort, well known from Divergent, as the famous Tony and Rachel Zegler, who will also appear in 2023s Shazam! Fury of the Gods, as our iconic Maria.
West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The film appears to stay true to the original Broadway musical with familiar dance numbers like the school dance sequence, the knife brawl, and the famous balcony sequence straight out of Romeo and Juliet. In 2017 when it was revealed that Kushner would be writing the script, he announced that he intended to leave the musical numbers intact, and it appears he has remained true to his word.
Famous for her role as Anita in the 1961 adaptation of the musical, Rita Moreno, will be making an appearance as Valentina. The film will also feature Arian DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stroll, Brian d’Arcy James, and Curtiss Cook.
A notable supporting cast member is Maddie Zeigler. The 18-year-old is featured in many of musical artist Sia’s projects and has recently gained attention for her role in this year’s drama-musical Music where she plays a young girl on the autism spectrum alongside Kate Hudson. Members of the industry and autism community weren’t happy about the casting and the film did not receive a warm welcome from viewers or critics. Zeigler is playing the role of Velma in West Side Story.
In a 2020 interview with Vanity Fair, Spielberg noted “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.” With nostalgia guiding him, West Side Story is likely to add to a long list of Spielberg favourites. You’ll be able to judge for yourself when the film premieres in theatres December 10, 2021.