Something’s coming, and now we have our first image of what it’s going to look like.
Steven Spielberg’s long-gestating West Side Story remake is now in full swing. With filming set to take place this summer on the streets of Harlem, Disney-Fox has released the first image from the film’s final stages of pre-production, showing that this team is ready to go.
With a much more muted color palette than the 1961 Best Picture winning original, this image shows star-crossed Romeo & Juliet archetypes Tony and Maria at center (Ansel Elgort and teenage newcomer Rachel Zegler), holding hands and staring into each others eyes. Flanked on either side are the respective warring gangs, the Jets (white Americans) and Sharks (Puerto Rican “immigrants”, although the island has been a U.S. territory since 1898.).
To adapt the 1957 musical, Spielberg has tapped his Lincoln and Munich screenwriter Tony Kushner to adapt the screenplay (Kushner’s roots, of course, are as a Pulitzer and Tony winning playwright for Angels in America).
Oscar-nominated composer David Newman (Anastasia) will arrange the songs and score while L.A. Philharmonic maestro Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the recording of Leonard Bernstein’s classic music. Tony-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway’s Fun Home, who also collaborated with Kushner on the musical Caroline, or Change) will assist the cast on vocals.
In other key roles not pictured here, Corey Stoll will play Lieutenant Schrank, Brian d’Arcy James is Officer Krupke, and Rita Moreno—who won an Oscar for playing Anita, Bernardo’s sister and Maria’s best friend, in Robert Wise’s 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story—plays the new role of Valentina, a re-imagining of the soda shop owner Doc who’s also a mentor to Tony. Moreno also serves as an executive producer.
West Side Story will open on December 18, 2020 (as is made clear on the plainest debut One Sheet Poster ever; see below).
Pictured from left to right:
Jets — Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); Jets leader Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins)
Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler) at center
Sharks — Maria’s brother & Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez) plus Sharks members Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú)
Meet the cast of director Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory: Maria (newcomer Rachel Zegler), Tony (Ansel Elgort), The Jets (left) and The Sharks (right). https://t.co/NjNzw4lOBx #StevenSpielberg @rachelzegler @AnselElgort