West Side Story: Spielberg’s New Adaptation

Hollywood’s remakes of classic films amassed popularity recently. Godzilla vs Kong, A Star is Born, and Mulan were some of the biggest films to release over two years. But now, Steven Spielberg threw his hat into the ring. The awarded director developed his take on the 1961 classic, West Side Story. The original film received rave reviews and box office success. It even won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The feat has yet to be topped by another musical. So how will the 2021 revival compare to the original?

1961’s West Side Story

West Side Story takes on the trope of forbidden love. Influenced by the prototype Romeo and Juliet, two rivals become lovers. But this musical drama features opposing gangs. More specifically, it highlights the relationship between the White Jets and Latino Sharks. In 1950’s New York, the two have a turf war while tensions arise. Despite the friction, Tony and Maria make it their mission to continue their hidden relationship. But a boiling point is reached once fists turn into knives.

West Side Story': Trailer for Steven Spielberg's New Adaptation - Rolling  Stone
(Courtesy of Rolling Stone)

The Musical: Through Spielberg’s Lens

The new rendition stars Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort as Maria and Tony– the star-crossed lovers. But fans of the original would be pleased with the sight of a familiar face. Actress Rita Moreno stars in the upcoming film. Moreno won’t be reprising her Oscar-winning role of Anita. Instead, she will reportedly play Valentina, a reworked role of Doc– Tony’s boss. Plus, Moreno is the executive producer of the new movie. Viewers will also see some of the staple scenes. This includes the dance as well as the “Somewhere” musical number.

West Side Story' Trailer: First Look at Steven Spielberg Adaptation -  Variety
(Courtesy of Variety)

According to Variety, West Side Story (2021) was delayed a year due to the ongoing pandemic. But the new release date coincides with the original. Spielberg’s modification now debuts almost 60 years from the 1961 release date. The new film will release on December 10, 2021.

The cover photo courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

About author


Brianna Ormond is a senior at Rutgers University as a Journalism and Media Studies major, Political Science and Africana Studies double minor. She enjoys listening to music and binging Netflix in her spare time.
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