Vanity Fair has published new West Side Story photos that give you a great look at Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film. An adaptation of the original Broadway musical, West Side Story explores young love and tensions between rival gangs the Jets and the Sharks on the streets of 1957 New York.
“This story is not only a product of its time, but that time has returned, and it’s returned with a kind of social fury,” Spielberg told the magazine. “I really wanted to tell that Puerto Rican, Nuyorican experience of basically the migration to this country and the struggle to make a living, and to have children, and to battle against the obstacles of xenophobia and racial prejudice.”
In the film, the Jets characters and actors include Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); leader Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins); Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler).
Maria’s brother and Sharks leader Bernardo is played by David Alvarez, and the rest of the Sharks are Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú).
The cast also includes Ariana DeBose (Anita), Rita Moreno (Valentina), Ana Isabelle (Rosalia), Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke), and Curtiss Cook (Abe).
Spielberg only wanted performers with Hispanic backgrounds to play Hispanic characters, and he said that 20 of the 33 Puerto Rican characters are specifically Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent.
“They brought an authenticity,” Spielberg said. “They brought themselves, and everything they believe and everything about them—they brought that to the work. And there was so much interaction between the cast wanting to be able to commit to the Puerto Rican experience. They all represent, I think, a diversity, both within the Puerto Rican, Nuyorican community as well as the broader Latinx community. And they took that seriously.”
West Side Story is produced and directed by Steven Spielberg from a script by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.
The film was adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway musical, which was written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins.
Also leading the production are Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum and Academy Award-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger. In addition to her work in front of the camera, Rita Moreno will serve as one of the film’s Executive Producers. Tony Award-winning choreographer Justin Peck will choreograph the film.
The film’s music team includes renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who will helm the recording of Bernstein’s iconic score. Academy Award-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (Anastasia) will be arranging the score for the new adaptation.
Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway’s Fun Home and Thoroughly Modern Millie) will be working with the cast on vocals. And Grammy-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (Beauty and the Beast, Chicago) will serve as executive music producer for the film.
Disney’s 20th Century Fox will release the film on December 18, 2020. Are you looking forward to the film? What do you think about the new West Side Story photos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.