To hear him talk about it, filming the beloved American musical isn’t merely a passion project but a lifelong dream that, in Spielberg’s words, he finally gave into.
The implied hesitation is understandable given the iconic status of the 1961 film version, cemented by its 10 Academy Award wins including Best Picture. Even a legend like him has received skepticism for remaking something that most film fans consider untouchable.
But these new images — set in the high school dance where star-crossed lovers Tony (a white American member of the Jets gang, played by Baby Driver‘s Ansel Elgort) and Maria (sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Puerto Rican Sharks, played by Rachel Zelger) first meet — promise a lush and vibrant production worth anticipating.
In addition, with an inspired casting move that essentially grant’s Spielberg tacit approval to remake this revered classic, Rita Moreno plays Valentina, a re-imagining of the role of Doc, the soda shop owner and mentor figure to Tony. Moreno played Anita in the 1961 original, a performance for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
See all seven images in the gallery below, and check out Breznican’s preview.
West Side Story opens this holiday season in the thick of the Oscar race on December 18, 2020. (Click here to hear 17-year-old Maria newcomer Rachel Zegler sing.)
Click on any image for larger gallery