Why We’re Ready to Fall in Love with the ‘West Side Story’ Remake

Having the privilege to watch a Broadway show makes for an unforgettable memory. Being able to step into the cold and dark theatre to watch a live performance unfold before your eyes is truly an exhilarating experience. Fortunately, these days one does not need to fly to New York City anymore just to be able to watch a Broadway show, as filmmakers have constantly been reinventing these shows, and taking them from the stage onto the big screen. Watching a film adaptation may not completely feel like seeing a show live, but it definitely makes for an enjoyable movie moment as well. The latest Broadway film adaptation that is about to get another theatrical release is the classic romantic musical drama, West Side Story. Here are five reasons why we’re ready to fall in love with the upcoming remake:

5. The brains behind the remake are a force to be reckoned with

The film is produced and directed by no other than highly-acclaimed and multi-awarded filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, the genius behind numerous classic movies, such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan, to name a few. The screenplay is also written by the equally talented, Tony Kushner, who has also written for other Spielberg-directed films such as, Munich, Lincoln, and the upcoming semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film, The Fabelmans. This only proves that there is no stopping the dynamic duo anytime soon. This will also be Spielberg’s first stint in directing a musical. The prolific director already has numerous accolades and awards under his belt. This film can just add more sparkle to his already dazzling repertoire. The film has been several years in the making. Spielberg first expressed interest in recreating Stephen Sondheim’s hit musical into another motion picture way back in 2014. It must be so rewarding to finally see it all come into life. This by itself is already reason enough to look forward to the remake.

4. A promising ensemble that are about to make waves in the industry

Finding the perfect actors to portray iconic characters serves as such a huge challenge in itself. Whether we like it or not, there is added pressure to give justice to the original version. Open casting calls were held in New York City and Orlando, Florida to find the perfect fit for the lead roles. This paved the way for an aspiring actress from New Jersey to be discovered. Rachel Zegler was only 16-years-old when she was selected to play the lead role of Maria, out of more than 30,000 applicants. What a feat, and a great way to jumpstart a career in Hollywood! Maria’s star-crossed lover, Tony, will be portrayed by Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars). The other cast members to look forward to include various experienced stage actors. David Alvarez (Billy Elliot the Musical), portrays Bernardo, Maria’s older brother and the leader of The Sharks, while his girlfriend, Anita, will be portrayed by Ariana DeBose (Hamilton), and his bestfriend Chino will be portrayed by newcomer Josh Andrés Rivera. On the opposing corner lies Riff, the leader of The Jets, to be portrayed by Mike Faist (Wildling), while Maddie Ziegler (Music) will portray the role of Riff’s girlfriend, Velma. It will be most exciting to witness this talented bunch add their own spin to the much-anticipated dance-offs and sing-offs.

3. A classic love story that will never go out of style

The story is set in 1950’s New York City, and draws inspiration from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It follows the unrequited love story of Tony and Maria, who like Romeo and Juliet, fall in love whilst belong to two opposing street gangs, The Sharks and The Jets. Tony is a former member of the Jets, and is best friends with its gang leader, Riff, while Maria’s brother, Bernardo, is the leader of The Sharks. The classic tale has already been told countless of times, but viewers are still looking forward to it, and acting as if they still haven’t seen the story before. It is a tale that will never go out of style, and will be appreciated by generations to come.

2. Another chance to relive the iconic scenes captivated us

The recently released official trailer may have just lasted a little over two minutes, but it was able to bring back so many memories. The top-notch cinematography, coupled with Spielberg’s modern twist is a sight to behold. It is also evident that Elgort and Zeglor have undeniable chemistry that was felt from the moment they first interlocked eyes with each other. Fingers crossed that this lasts until the credits roll. Seeing all the actors in character also shows how much the entire cast and crew have prepared for this movie. The production delays that the team encountered may have felt frustrating, but the reward will lie in the audiences’ warm reception once they are able to see the famed musical brought to life onscreen once again.

1. A new spin on the soundtrack that is all kinds of nostalgic

Who could ever forget the film’s classic songs, such as Tonight and Somewhere. The beautiful lyrics paired with the most melodic of tunes definitely makes it one of the most memorable soundtracks in Broadway history. The chance to hear the songs sung by new voices, and given a more modern take is such a treat for the show’s long-time fans. A 21st  century experience like no other.

West Side Story is scheduled to be released by 20th Century Studios on December 10, 2021.


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