New WEST SIDE STORY Trailer Shows Divided Life In America (VIDEO/IMAGES)

Star-crossed lovers face racial division in latest trailer for Steven Spielberg’s WEST SIDE STORY. It opens in theaters December 2021.

There’s a place for Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story.

After the project was first announced, there was a cynical response of “Why?!” Of all the musicals for the legendary director to finally tackle, why bother with one that’s already a classic Academy Award winner for Best Picture (and 9 other Oscars)?

Well, the trailers for Spielberg’s ambitious approach (here and here) have essentially answered that question: because there’s still power in a timeless story when a timeless auteur has a passion for it.

That passion is on display in the newest (and possibly last) trailer for Spielberg’s West Side Story, a faithful rendition of the mid-50s Broadway musical that became a 1961 major motion picture.

There are a few updates¬† — from new, swelling orchestrations to casting Rita Moreno (who won an Oscar for playing Anita in the original) in a reimagined version of the drugstore owner Doc (now named Valentia) who is Tony’s boss and mentor — but on the whole this is the show we know, but on a much bigger, bolder canvas.

The new trailer focuses on the star-crossed romance between Tony and Maria (based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet), with an emphasis on the racial divide between the warring street gangs, the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks, as well as hints of other ethnic divisions common to the era and still resonant today.

In what looks to be a superb cast, it’s newcomer Rachel Zegler who magnetically stands out here as Maria in what seems to be a star-making turn, and Ariana DeBose as Anita is close behind.

The presence of Broadway vet Mike Faist as Jet leader Riff is also intriguing, a tough guy part for the young man who originated the role of Connor Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen.

David Alvarez also looks strong as Shark leader (and Maria’s brother) Bernardo, although I have to confess the jury’s still out (for me) on Ansel Elgort‘s Tony. We’ll see.

With a screenplay adapted by Tony-winning writer and previous Spielberg collaborator Tony Kushner (Lincoln, Munich), West Side Story will open exclusively in theaters on December 10, 2021.

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