Something's coming! A classic musical. A classic director. It should be a match made in Heaven. But when will it actually occur? That's a question lingering now that we know Steven Spielberg is moving forward with his remake of the famed West Side Story, from an adaptation by his Lincoln and Munich screenwriter Tony Kushner (himself a Pulitzer Prize winner for Angels in America).
A collaboration by lyricist Stephen Sondheim and composer Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story made its debut on Broadway in 1957, losing the Tony Award for Best Musical to The Music Man. But West Side Story would live on both on the stage and on the silver screen, being adapted to film in 1961, with directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins at the helm. That movie dominated the Academy Awards that year, winning 10 of its 11 nominated categories, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (George Chakiris) and Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno). It remains the movie musical with the most Oscar wins to its name.
Is Steven Spielberg crazy to tackle a movie with such a pedigree? Is it hubris to think that a filmmaker -- even one of Steven Spielberg's caliber -- can improve on what is believed by many to be one of the best movies ever made? This will be the debate until the movie comes out. THR reports that Spielberg will employ a heavy Latino cast, as a casting notice sent out seeks Latino leads for the key roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo and the Sharks, a Puerto Rican street gang that fought against the Caucasians ruffians in the Jets. Maria, of course, falls for a Jet named Tony, setting the cultures on an explosive path to a confrontation.
Though, one set to song and incredibly choreographed dance:
So, when will Steven Spielberg's West Side Story arrive in theaters? THR suggests that Spielberg won't start shooting this movie musical until after he has wrapped Indiana Jones 5, a sequel that he'd like to shoot in 2019 with the goal of having it in theaters in 2020. We assume that West Side Story would be up after that, but Spielberg always seems to keep a handful of projects on his radar, and any one of them could bump the musical to the back burner if the production hits a snag.
For now, we seem to know that Steven Spielberg is moving forward with his planned production of the movie musical West Side Story, with more on-screen representation for the Latin acting community. Cue up "I Feel Pretty," and bookmark our guide to Upcoming Steven Spielberg Movies to find out more details on West Side Story when they arrive.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.