2021 is the year of the movie musicals, with a number of adaptations hitting the silver screen. Following the release of modern favorites like In the Heights and Dear Evan Hansen, the legendary Steven Spielberg is bringing back a classic: West Side Story. And the first full trailer reveals this colorful new take on said classic- complete with an updated script.
Anticipation for West Side Story has been steadily building since it was revealed that Steven Spielberg was behind the camera and collaborating with Oscar winning original star Rita Moreno. But footage has been limited, at least until now. Check out the trailer above, featuring more of the performances given by the likes of Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, and Ariana DeBose.
The above clip opens on newcomer Rachel Zegler, who will be playing Maria in this new version of West Side Story. She sings a few bars of the beloved song "Tonight", which is the first time we've heard her voice in official footage. The opening moments of the trailer focus on Maria's perspective; we learn about the dreams of her immigrant experience, as well as the tension with her brother Bernardo (David Alvarez). Before long Zegler is in that signature white dress, and attending the "Dance at the Gym."
Moviegoers are treated to a few moments of Maria's meet-cute with Tony (Ansel Elgort), before the trailer's story shifts from the Sharks to the Jets. And while we're meeting familiar characters like Anita and Riff, the lines are entirely new. The legendary Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay for this new West Side Story, and it should be fascinating to see how the story hits differently.
The full trailer for West Side Story really kicks into overdrive in its second half, as we are shown clips from a number of tense scenes and extravagant musical numbers. Favorite bops like "America" are shown, with Hamilton alum Ariana DeBose shining as Anita. Overall it looks like a visual spectacle, especially given Steven Spielberg's dynamic cinematography and use of bright colors. In a time where so many blockbusters are muted, this new take on West Side Story is refreshingly vibrant.
As previously mentioned, Tony Kushner helped Steven Spielberg to put his own spin on the story of West Side Story, while still seemingly having the same songs and story beats. Rita Moreno is debuting as a new character Valentina, and she's been heavily used in the marketing material thus far. It should be fascinating to see how this new screenplay helps to deepen the characters and their motivations. Still, the pressure is on considering the success of the 1961 original film.
West Side Story will leap and chassé into theaters on December 10th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.