West Side Story (2020 film)

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]

West Side Story
Teaser poster
Directed bySteven Spielberg
Produced by
Screenplay byTony Kushner
Based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Starring
Music by
CinematographyJanusz Kamiński
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 18, 2020 (2020-12-18)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100 million[1]

Produced by Amblin Entertainment, West Side Story is scheduled to be released by 20th Century Fox in the United States on December 18, 2020.[3][4]

Premise

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.[5]

Cast

Jets

  • 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[7]

Sharks

  • 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

Production

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.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11] This was followed a few days later with an open casting call issued for the characters Maria, Tony, Anita and Bernardo.[12] Additional open casting calls were hosted in New York City in April, and in Orlando, Florida in May.[13] In July, the fifth Indiana Jones film was pushed back, allowing Spielberg to begin pre-production on West Side Story.[14]

Justin Peck was hired to choreograph the film in September 2018, with Ansel Elgort cast in the film as Tony.[15][16] In November, Eiza González emerged as a contender for the role of Anita.[17] Rita Moreno was cast as Valentina, a reworked version of the character Doc.[18] 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.[19] In March 2019, Corey Stoll and Brian d'Arcy James joined the cast.[20] A month later, the rest of the ensemble comprising the Jets and Sharks factions was announced.[21]

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.[22]

Filming

On June 17, 2019, it was reported that the film had begun production.[23] Filming continued in New York City and northern New Jersey[24] and wrapped on September 27, 2019.[25]

Release

West Side Story is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 18, 2020 by 20th Century Fox.[3]

References

  1. Donnelly, Matt; Lang, Brent (August 13, 2019). "Fox Feels the Pressure From Disney as Film Flops Mount". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  2. Chi, Paul (October 23, 2018). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  3. McPhee, Ryan (May 7, 2019). "New West Side Story Movie Sets December 2020 Release". Playbill. New York City: Playbill Inc.
  4. "The Walt Disney Studios | First Look at 'West Side Story'". The Walt Disney Sudios. June 17, 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  5. Chi, Paul (October 23, 2018). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  6. Fierberg, Ruthie (April 16, 2019). "Tony Nominee Mike Faist, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Maddie Ziegler, More Join Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Movie". Playbill. New York City: Playbill, Inc.
  7. Sorren, Martha (July 1, 2019). "Melissa Ziegler Happily Left Fame Behind After Dance Moms". Woman's Day. New York City: Hearst Magazines.
  8. Fleming, Mike, Jr. (March 5, 2014). "Fox Revives West Side Story for Steven Spielberg as Town Ponders Stacey Snider Move and DreamWorks' Future". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  9. Teeman, Tim (July 19, 2017). "Tony Kushner: Why I'm Writing a Play About Donald Trump". Daily Beast. New York City: IBT Media. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  10. Chi, Paul (October 23, 2018). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast.
  11. Fleming, Mike, Jr. (January 19, 2018). "Steven Spielberg Eyes Indiana Jones & 'West Side Story' Atop Next Directing Vehicles". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  12. Kit, Borys (January 26, 2018). "Steven Spielberg Looks for Spanish-Speaking Actors for His 'West Side Story' Remake". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  13. "Steven Spielberg's WEST SIDE STORY Remake Will Hold Open Call This Weekend in NYC!". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  14. D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 10, 2018). "'Indiana Jones 5' Shifts To 2021, 'Mary Poppins Returns' Moves Up A Week & More Disney Release-Date Moves". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  15. Evans, Greg (September 28, 2018). "Broadway's Justin Peck To Choreograph Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  16. Kit, Borys (October 1, 2018). "Ansel Elgort to Star in Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  17. "Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Remake Cast Might Add 'Baby Driver' Actress Eiza González". /Film. November 7, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  18. D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 27, 2018). "Rita Moreno Returns To 'West Side Story': EGOT Winner To Play The Role Of Valentina In Steven Spielberg's Remake". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  19. D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 14, 2019). "Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Finds Its Maria, Anita, Bernardo & Chino". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  20. D'Allessandro, Anthony (March 19, 2019). "Corey Stoll & Brian d'Arcy James Join Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
  21. N'Duka, Amanda (April 16, 2019). "Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Sets Sharks/Jets Chorus Including Riff & Rosalia". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
  22. Culwell-Block, Logan (May 17, 2019). "Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel Join Music Staff of Spielberg-Helmed West Side Story Movie". Playbill. New York City: Playbill, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Beckerman, Jim. "West Side Story movie set going up in Paterson ahead of filming", North Jersey Record, July 3, 2019; Kuperinsky, Amy. "Spielberg's West Side Story headed to Newark as production readies Paterson set. Feel pretty yet?", NJ.com, August 2, 2019; and "Spielberg’s West Side Story continues filming in Essex County", News12.com, September 10, 2019
  25. Parker, Ryan. "Spielberg's West Side Story Wraps, New Photos From Set Shared", The Hollywood Reporter, October 2, 2019; and Peck, Justin. "That’s a wrap, 9.27.2019", Instagram, September 27, 2019
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