Amblin has released the first photo of the cast of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story. Newcomer Rachel Zegler plays Maria. Ansel Elgort plays Tony. The film — an adaptation of the beloved musical — is now in production and aiming to debut in December 2020.
The cast also includes Ariana DeBose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, Mike Faist as Riff, Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank and Brian d'Arcy James as Sergeant Krupke. Rita Moreno, who won an Academy Award for her role as Anita in the 1961 film version of West Side Story, also joins the cast. She will play Valentina, an expanded and reimagined version of Doc, the proprietor of the corner store where Tony works.
Spielberg produces and directs West Side Story form a script by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Lincoln). The film is a new adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Tony Award winner Justin Peck will choreograph the new film's musical numbers. Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum and Academy Award-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger are also working on the film.
The film's music team includes conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who helms the recording of Bernstein's score; Academy Award-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (Anastasia) who will arrange the score for the new adaptation; Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway's Fun Home and Thoroughly Modern Millie), who will work on cast vocals; and Grammy-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (Beauty and the Beast, Chicago), who serves as executive music producer.
West Side Story is a reimagining of William's Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York, with Tony as Romeo and Maria as Juliet. The street gang The Sharks and The Jets stand in for the families Montague and Capulet. The original Broadway production earned six Tony Awards nominations, including Best Musical in 1957. It has had many revivals since then.
West Side Story was first adapted into a film in 1961, directed by Robert Wise and Robbins. The film starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn. It earned 11 Academy Awards nominations and won 10 of them, including George Chakiris for Supporting Actor, Rita Moreno for Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.
Are you excited about Spielberg's take on West Side Story? Let us know in the comments. West Side Story opens in theaters on December 18, 2020.