Steven Spielberg, famed for producing and directing top-grossing films and award winning movies like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan, just to name a few, is about to test his filmmaking mettle with a remake of the 1961 movie musical “West Side Story”.
After more than 50 years, Steven Spielberg films still matter, since he continues to reign as one of the greatest filmmakers of the New Hollywood.Era. The announcement of his remake of the 1961 movie based on the Broadway hit with the same title, is drawing lots of attention and anticipation for its future release in year 2020 (tentative date December 15).
Spielberg’s remake of the musical will still be featuring the original musical score created by Leonard Berntein, and the original lyrics penned by Stephen Sondheim. Pulitzer Prize-winner playwright Tony Kushner developed the script, Jerome Robbins will take charge as director and choreographer, while Tony Award winner Justin Peck will handle the musical choreography.
Rachel Ziegler, a 17-year old newcomer picked by the casting crew from about 30,000 who auditioned for a role, was chosen to play the lead female character Maria. Ziegler’s filmography includes Rise of the Planet Apes, Okjan and some others, where she appeared mostly as part of the miscellaneous crew. As Maria, she plays opposite Ansel Elgort,’s Tony. Elgort is well known for his first starring role as the cunning “Baby Driver”,
Hopefully, everything will go well so that Walt Disney Studios will start rolling the film for general viewing in December 2020.
About West Side Story
“West Side Story” by Arthur Laurentis first won critical acclaim as a Broadway Musical in 1957. The story revolves around two warring gangs of New York, the hispanics or The Sharks and the The Jets being the white group. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” it presents the complications of a romantic affair between star-crossed lovers who had respective links to the opposing sides of the faction.
Maria, the Puerto Rican love interest of Tony is sister to Bernardo, the leader of The Shark. Tony on the other hand, was a former Jet member but still maintains close ties with the group, being a best friend to Riff, gang leader of The Jets. The love affair of course is doomed to end in tragedy since it is only then that rivals realize that their petty quarrels will yield nothing but grief and despair.