A new version of “West Side Story” will hit theaters in December. The musical film – a classic of cinema – will now star Ansel Elgort and recently acclaimed Hollywood star Rachel Zegler as the protagonists. The film has long been over as it was scheduled to debut last year. A remake of the 1961 musical, this adaptation has something to measure up to, as the original won Best Picture and nine more Oscars. It was also the highest grossing film in 1961, raising $ 43,656,822. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer were the protagonists at the time.
The current film and previous films are adaptations of the theatrical musical of the same name, with text by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The show opened in 1957 on Broadway and won two Tony Awards.
Three Oscar winner Steven Spielberg directs the film. He is also one of the producers. The filmmaker praises the professionals involved and celebrates the project as one of the great moments of his career. Spielberg was 10 when “West Side Story” opened on Broadway; working with this story has been a dream of her for a long time. Not wanting to overlook the masterpiece that was the 1961 film, Spielberg hoped to create a derivative film of the directing. It’s almost as if the two movies are different interpretations of the same source material.
Rita Moreno, one of only three artists to have received Oscars, Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Peabody, is also one of the film’s executive producers. She even won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the first version of “West Side Story”. At the time, she played Anita, the strong and charismatic immigrant who places high hopes in “America”. Now, the film features the character of Valentina here, replacing the role of Doc, a Father Lawrence type mentor to the young couple.
The choreographer is Justin Peck, winner of the Tony Awards for the musical “Carousel“. One of the highlights of the original film was definitely the dances – namely the party scene and the intricate techniques employed in the song “America”. Without a doubt, the remake will amaze audiences, as the brief shots shown in the trailer are enough to spark wonder and excitement.
Gustavo Dadamel, director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, developed the elaborate soundtrack. It must have been an honor to be in such close contact with the music of Bernstein, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.
With the approach of the expected remake, it is worth revisiting the story that enchanted audiences around the world. The premise is simple, but intriguing: on the west side of New York, the Jets and Sharks are Polish and Puerto Rican gangs, respectively, who hate each other and fight to dominate their neighborhood territory. The conflict escalates when two rival gang members fall in love, setting the stage for tragedy. The plot is inspired by “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, and the similarity between the two works is obvious; to those who have read Shakespeare, it is easy to point out characters and scenes that mirror those of the 16th century tale. However, “West Side Story” adds a layer of depth to classic romance. Highlighting immigrant struggles, racial tensions and discrimination, “West Side Story” goes beyond mere romance and addresses themes that will continue to be relevant for a considerable time. So it’s fitting that Spielberg made sure to choose actors of genuine Hispanic origin to play the Puerto Ricans, as the original contained a predominantly white cast.
“West Side Story” (2021) posted a tease in April at the 93rd Academy Awards. The official trailer broadcast on Hello america on September 15, featuring jaw-dropping snapshots and a preview of the song “Tonight”. Each frame appears to be meticulously constructed to reflect the beauty and depth of the story. In all appearances, this upcoming film will meet and maybe even exceed expectations.