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West Side Story (2021 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

West Side Story
West Side Story 2021 Official Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteven Spielberg
Screenplay byTony Kushner
Based on
Produced by
CinematographyJanusz Kamiński
Edited by
Music byLeonard Bernstein (original score)
David Newman (score adaptation)
Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)
Distributed by20th Century Studios[1]
Release date
  • December 10, 2021 (2021-12-10) (United States)
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[2]

West Side Story is an upcoming American musical romantic drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, who also serves as one of the film's executive producers. The film is the second feature-length adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim, which is based loosely on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.[3][4] It stars Rachel Zegler (in her feature film debut) and Ansel Elgort, with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andrés Rivera, Corey Stoll and Brian d'Arcy James. Rita Moreno, who appeared in the 1961 film, has a supporting role and is an executive producer. Choreography is by Justin Peck.

The film started development in 2014 by 20th Century Fox, and Kushner was writing the screenplay by 2017. In January 2018, Spielberg was hired, and casting began by September 2018. Filming began in July 2019 and wrapped up two months later. Shooting occurred in New York and New Jersey.

West Side Story is scheduled to be released by 20th Century Studios[1] in the United States on December 10, 2021, after being delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5]


Teenagers Tony and María, despite having affiliations with rival street gangs, the Jets and Sharks, fall in love in 1950s New York City.[6]



Two of the Jets from the 1961 film of West Side Story, Harvey Evans, who portrayed Mouthpiece, and Bert Michaels, who played Snowboy, appear as extras.[10]



In March 2014, Steven Spielberg first expressed interest in directing an adaptation of West Side Story. This prompted 20th Century Fox to acquire the rights to the project.[11] Tony Kushner, who previously worked with Spielberg on 2005's Munich and 2012's Lincoln, revealed in a July 2017 interview that he was writing the screenplay for the film, stating he would be leaving the musical numbers intact, and that the story would be more similar to the original stage musical than to the 1961 film.[6][12] In a 2020 interview, Spielberg told Vanity Fair: "West Side Story was actually the first piece of popular music our family ever allowed into the home. I... fell completely in love with it as a kid."[13]


In January 2018, it was announced that Spielberg would likely direct the film following completion of filming for a fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise.[14] This was followed a few days later with an open casting call issued for the characters María, Tony, Anita and Bernardo.[15] Additional open casting calls were hosted in New York City in April, and in Orlando, Florida in May.[16] In July, the fifth Indiana Jones film was pushed back, allowing Spielberg to begin pre-production on West Side Story.[17]

Justin Peck was hired to choreograph the film in September 2018, with Ansel Elgort cast in the film as Tony.[18][19] In November, Eiza González emerged as a contender for the role of Anita.[20] Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film, plays Valentina and also serves as an executive producer for the film.[21] In January 2019, newcomer Rachel Zegler was cast in the lead role of María, with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, and Josh Andrés Rivera also cast as Anita, Bernardo, and Chino, respectively.[22] In March 2019, Corey Stoll and Brian d'Arcy James joined the cast.[23] A month later, the rest of the ensemble comprising the Jets and Sharks factions was announced.[24]


Filming took place in Harlem and other Manhattan locations and in Flatlands, Brooklyn in New York City in July 2019.[25] There were ten days of shooting in Paterson, New Jersey,[26] where an outdoor set was built, in August 2019.[27] Filming also took place in Newark and other parts of Essex County, New Jersey.[28][29] It wrapped on September 27, 2019 for a total of 79 days of shooting.[30][31]


Composer David Newman arranged and adapted Bernstein's original score for the film. Gustavo Dudamel conducted the New York Philharmonic during the film's recording sessions, with Jeanine Tesori serving as vocal coach.[32] The soundtrack album is set to be released by Hollywood Records.[33]


West Side Story was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on December 18, 2020 by 20th Century Studios.[1][34] In September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parent company Disney delayed the release date to December 10, 2021, which will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the release of the original 1961 film.[5] The film will have an exclusive 45-day theatrical run.[35]


On April 25, 2021, during the 93rd Academy Awards telecast, DeBose introduced the film's teaser trailer,[36] and Moreno later presented the Academy Award for Best Picture, commemorating the 1961 film's release and awards wins.[37] The film's official trailer premiered on September 15, 2021 on ABC's Good Morning America.[38]

A book by Laurent Bouzereau about the making of the film, featuring interviews with the cast and crew, is expected to be released by Abrams Books on November 16, 2021.[39]

Differences among film and stage versions

The film's screenplay is expected to hew more closely to the Broadway script of West Side Story than to the 1961 film adaptation written by Ernest Lehman.[6] Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film, plays Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the original character Doc, who serves as a mentor to the teenage characters.[21] A new Black character, Abe, makes the cast "more representative of ... 1950s New York".[8] Siblings María and Bernardo are given a surname: Vasquez.[7] Peck's choreography is original and does not attempt to replicate Jerome Robbins' choreography.[40]


  1. ^ a b c Vary, Adam (January 17, 2020). "Disney Drops Fox Name, Will Rebrand as 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures". Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  2. ^ Donnelly, Matt; Lang, Brent (August 13, 2019). "Fox Feels the Pressure From Disney as Film Flops Mount". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  3. ^ Roberts, Maddy Shaw (June 19, 2019). "West Side Story remake by Steven Spielberg: 2020 UK release date, cast and soundtrack revealed". Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Laurents, Arthur (2009). Mainly on directing: Gypsy, West Side Story, and other musicals. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 349. ISBN 978-0-307-27088-7.
  5. ^ a b "Black Widow, West Side Story, Eternals Postpone Release Dates". Variety. September 23, 2020. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Chi, Paul (October 23, 2018). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Will Go Back to Basics". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast.
  7. ^ a b Goldsmith, Annie. "West Side Story's Rachel Zegler on the Meaning Behind "I Feel Pretty", Town & Country, August 25, 2021
  8. ^ a b Owoseje, Toyin (August 19, 2020). "Steven Spielberg has written some Black characters into his West Side Story remake". CNN.
  9. ^ Hough, Q. V. "West Side Story 2020 Cast & Character Guide", Screen Rant, September 24, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2021
  10. ^ Lenker, Maureen Lee (May 4, 2021). "Original West Side Story stars Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris react to Spielberg remake trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (March 5, 2014). "Fox Revives West Side Story for Steven Spielberg as Town Ponders Stacey Snider Move and DreamWorks' Future". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  12. ^ Teeman, Tim (July 19, 2017). "Tony Kushner: Why I'm Writing a Play About Donald Trump". Daily Beast. New York City: IBT Media. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Breznican, Anthony (March 16, 2020). "A First Look at Steven Spielberg's West Side Story". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (January 19, 2018). "Steven Spielberg Eyes Indiana Jones & West Side Story Atop Next Directing Vehicles". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys (January 26, 2018). "Steven Spielberg Looks for Spanish-Speaking Actors for His West Side Story Remake". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  16. ^ "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Remake Will Hold Open Call This Weekend in NYC!". Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 10, 2018). "'Indiana Jones 5' Shifts To 2021, 'Mary Poppins Returns' Moves Up A Week & More Disney Release-Date Moves". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  18. ^ Evans, Greg (September 28, 2018). "Broadway's Justin Peck to Choreograph Steven Spielberg's West Side Story". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (October 1, 2018). "Ansel Elgort to Star in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  20. ^ "Spielberg's West Side Story Remake Cast Might Add 'Baby Driver' Actress Eiza González". /Film. November 7, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  21. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 27, 2018). "Rita Moreno Returns to West Side Story: EGOT Winner to Play the Role of Valentina In Steven Spielberg's Remake". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  22. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 14, 2019). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Finds Its María, Anita, Bernardo & Chino". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  23. ^ D'Allessandro, Anthony (March 19, 2019). "Corey Stoll & Brian d'Arcy James Join Steven Spielberg's West Side Story". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
  24. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 16, 2019). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Sets Sharks/Jets Chorus Including Riff & Rosalia". Deadline. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  25. ^ Yakas, Ben (July 30, 2019). "Video: West Side Story Fever Hits NYC as Steven Spielberg Films Around Town". Gothamist.
  26. ^ Beckerman, Jim (July 3, 2019). "West Side Story movie set going up in Paterson ahead of filming". North Jersey Record.
  27. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy (August 7, 2019). "Spielberg's West Side Story is about to film in Paterson".
  28. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy (August 2, 2019). "Spielberg's West Side Story headed to Newark as production readies Paterson set. Feel pretty yet?".
  29. ^ "Spielberg's West Side Story continues filming in Essex County". September 10, 2019.
  30. ^ Parker, Ryan (October 2, 2019). "Spielberg's West Side Story Wraps, New Photos From Set Shared". The Hollywood Reporter.
  31. ^ Peck, Justin (September 27, 2019). "That's a wrap, 9.27.2019". Instagram.
  32. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (May 17, 2019). "Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel Join Music Staff of Spielberg-Helmed West Side Story Movie". Playbill. New York City: Playbill, Inc.
  33. ^ Newman, Melinda (May 13, 2021). "Like the Stars It Launched, Hollywood Records Has Grown Up, Too". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  34. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 7, 2019). "New West Side Story Movie Sets December 2020 Release". Playbill. New York City: Playbill Inc.
  35. ^ Pedersen, Erik; Goldsmith, Jill (September 10, 2021). "Disney's Eternals, West Side Story, Encanto, Last Duel & More to Hit Theaters Ahead of Streaming Bow". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  36. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 25, 2021). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Trailer Dances Into Oscarcast". Deadline. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  37. ^ Walsh, Savannah (April 25, 2021). "Oscars 2021: Nomadland Wins Best Picture With a Howl". Vanity Fair. New York City, New York: Condé Nast. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  38. ^ Sharf, Zack; Sharf, Zack (September 15, 2021). "West Side Story Official Trailer: Steven Spielberg Returns with His First Movie Musical". IndieWire. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  39. ^ Bouzereau, Laurent (2021). West Side Story the Making of the Steven Spielberg Film. ISBN 9781419750632.
  40. ^ Boyle, Kelli. "West Side Story’: Rita Moreno Reveals Steven Spielberg ‘Completely’ Changed 'America'",, October 1, 2021

External links

This page was last edited on 28 October 2021, at 14:30
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