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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Steven Spielberg's Big-Screen 'West Side Story' Remake Has Just Dropped Its Full Trailer

The hit musical is bringing its 'Romeo and Juliet'-inspired love story — and its Jets versus Sharks rivalry — back to the silver screen.
By Sarah Ward
September 16, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
September 16, 2021
  shares

In the centuries since William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, plenty of other projects have attempted to take his lead, spinning perhaps the most famous love story there is into both straightforward and creative new adaptations. Some have simply brought the exact same story to the stage or screen. Others have kept all the details, but filtered them through a filmmaker's own style, as Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet did. And, back in 1957 on Broadway and 1961 in cinemas, West Side Story revamped the narrative and transferred it to the Big Apple.

Created more than six decades ago by famed musical figures Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, West Side Story is the adaptation that's taken on a life of its own. It's rarely far from stages worldwide, and that now 60-year-old film is a classic. It's also set to dance its way across the big screen again — and sing, too — with its New York neighbourhood rivalry returning to cinemas Down Under via a new remake this Boxing Day.

Yes, the Jets and the Sharks are facing off once more. As both the new movie's initial teaser and its just-dropped full trailer show, Tony (Ansel Elgort, The Goldfinch) and María (film debutant Rachel Zegler) will fall head over heels again as well, because that's how the story goes. This time around, Steven Spielberg is in the director's chair, but West Side Story's storyline will obviously remain the same. So, in NYC in 1957, the aforementioned pair will feel sparks fly despite their backgrounds — because Tony's best friend Riff (Mike Faist, Panic) leads the Jets, and María is the younger sister of Sharks head honcho Bernardo (David Alvarez).

Also popping up among the cast: Ariana DeBose (The Prom), Josh Andrés Rivera, Ana Isabelle (Imprisoned), Corey Stoll (Ratched) and Brian d'Arcy James (Devs), plus the great Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time) — who also played the role of Anita, Bernardo's girlfriend, in the original movie. The film's long list of talent continues off-screen, too, with West Side Story circa 2021's screenplay penned by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner Tony Kushner (Lincoln), and the choreography coming courtesy of fellow Tony-recipient Justin Peck.

Spielberg and company are taking the original Broadway musical rather than its first movie adaptation as their basis, and the results look vibrant and lively, but still with a classic old-school musical sheen. Thankfully — and unsurprisingly — it also looks worlds away from the filmmaker's last feature, Ready Player One.

Check out the trailer below:

West Side Story is set to open in Australian cinemas on December 26.

Top image: Niko Tavernise, 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Published on September 16, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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