Art & Hollywood

Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Remake

Apr 24, 2021 ByAndrew Parker

Steven Spielberg’s new film adaptation of the legendary West Side Story dropped during Sunday’s Oscar telecast. Directed by Spielberg, the remake of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler as the star-crossed teenage lovers Tony and Maria, as well as Tony nominee and Oscar preshow host Ariana DeBose as the fiery Anita. Underscored by Leonard Bernstein’s iconic score, shots of 1950s era New York unfurl as some of the most memorable moments immortalized in the best picture-winning film flash by, like the dance at the gymnasium where Tony and Maria first lock eyes, the rumble between dueling gangs the Jets and the Sharks, and the Romeo and Juliet inspired clandestine meeting on the fire escape. EGOT-winner Rita Moreno—who won an Oscar for portraying Anita in the 1961 film and serves as executive producer on the 2021 remake—also makes a brief appearance in the trailer as Valentina, the owner of the corner store where Tony works.

The film was originally supposed to hit theaters in December 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now scheduled to be released on December 10, 2021. Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler star in the remake of the iconic stage musical and 1961 film. The two play teenage star-crossed lovers from rival gangs in 1950s New York. The teaser trailer features original “West Side Story” star Rita Moreno, who plays Valentina in the remake, singing “Somewhere.” Ariana DeBose, who plays the role of Anita in the remake, introduced the clip at the 93rd Academy Awards. DeBose co-hosted the Oscars pre-show with Lil Rel Howery. DeBose also had the top searched red carpet dress on Sunday night, according to Google Trends.

Director Steven Spielberg paid tribute to the original creators of the musical when production wrapped in September 2019. “On every day of the past four years during which we’ve been preparing, casting, imagining West Side Story, I and my team, cast and crew have been walking in the footsteps of four giants: Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins and Stephen Sondheim,” Spielberg wrote in a letter. “For the light they’ve shed on the world, for Stephen Sondheim’s insight, guidance and support, and for the openhearted support of the Bernstein, Laurents and Robbins estates, I owe more than I can possibly express.”

The 1961 classic won best picture at the 34th Academy Awards.