Certain directors make a name for themselves by releasing hit after hit (Michael Bay). Some directors impress us with their otherworldly skills; even when they release a bad overall film, it features mind-blowing moments (Zack Snyder). Some filmmakers break all the cinematic rules to touch us on an emotional level (Terrence Malick) or push the art form’s boundaries (Quentin Tarantino). And some directors standout by crafting culturally significant pictures that feel like calls to action (Kathryn Bigelow, Ava Duvernay). The director behind the upcomming West Side Story remake checks all these boxes and then some.
Steven Spielberg is one of the few filmmakers working today whose work embodies all these qualities. His filmography is all over the map; big-budget spectacle (Minority Report), technical innovation (Jurassic Park), and Oscar-worthy historical epics (Lincoln). The man is a living legend and any time he releases a new movie, it’s a reason for excitement. But even more so for his upcoming feature, West Side Story, a passion project he’s been working on for years.
With its memorable characters, timeless story, and classic songs, many consider West Side Story one of the greatest musicals of all-time. Both the Broadway musical (1957) and the film (1961) have contributed their share of iconography to pop culture. Having a filmmaker of Spielberg’s calibre tackle the source material is a real treat. I’m not even into musicals, and I’m excited.
Spielberg is once again leaning on his frequent collaborator, screenwriter Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln) to bring this project to life. And Tony Award-winner Justin Peck (Carousel) will choreograph the musical numbers. Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) and newcomer Rachel Zegler take on the iconic roles of Tony and Maria.
Here are the official details as well as our first look at the cast in action:
WEST SIDE STORY is produced and directed by Steven Spielberg from a script by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner. The film has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway musical, which was written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Tony Award®-winner Justin Peck will choreograph the musical numbers in the film. Also leading the production are Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum and Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger.
West Side Story cast Photo:
An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love, and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
West Side Story arrives in theatres on December 18, 2020.