In recent years, Hollywood has found great success in reimagining famous musicals on the big screen. Steven Spielberg has now joined in with an upcoming adaptation of the classic Broadway musical, West Side Story. Production is currently underway and we’re starting to get sneak peeks from the set. Just take a look at Ariana DeBose’s Anita below:
Looks like she feels pretty! A fan-favorite in West Side Story, Anita is Maria’s close confidante and girlfriend to her brother Bernardo. She’s a Puerto-Rican immigrant who sings of her love of New York, in the big song-and-dance number "America." In the 1961 film, Anita was famously played by Rita Moreno, who recently starred as Lydia Netflix’s One Day At a Time and will return to West Side Story as Valentina.
Spielberg’s take has enlisted 28-year-old Ariana DeBose, an experienced dancer in the world of musical theater. She made it to the top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance in 2009 before nabbing roles in Bring It On, Motown: The Musical, Pippin, A Bronx Tale, The Donna Summer Musical, oh and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton!
Ariana DeBose is donning a classic look for the role, beaming in a yellow dress on the famous New York high-rise staircases. The actress will certainly have a special experience on set with the OG Anita as part of the cast, along with the rest of the talented ensemble. Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort stars as Tony with newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria. Ana Isabelle will play Rosalia, Ant-Man’s Corey Stoll as Lt. Schrank, Spotlight’s Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, and Dance Moms’ Maddie Zegler as Velma.
The West Side Story script was written by Tony Kushner, who has written projects for two other Steven Spielberg projects: Munich and Lincoln. This will be Spielberg’s first movie musical, after contributing his talents to some of the most memorable movies in history such as Schindler’s List, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws.
The original movie version of West Side Story was a huge hit, setting a long-time record of 10 Oscar wins, including Best Picture. That of course means this version has some seriously big shoes to fill. The remake will follow the original story of gang rivalry between the Jets and Sharks as Tony and Maria become star-crossed lovers. The musical itself is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, with Anita encapsulating the role of Juliet’s nurse.
West Side Story will be released in December 2020, after a jam-packed year of musicals including Jon M. Chu’s movie version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout musical In the Heights over the summer and the release of Ryan Murphy’s Prom movie musical for Netflix also in December. The Prom will star Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, and Awkwafina and receive a theatrical run.
Are you excited to see Anita return to the big screen in Spielberg’s West Side Story? Sing your song in the comments!