One of Broadway’s most beloved musicals is being made into a movie…again! Earlier this year, it was announced that West Side Story, the Romeo and Juliet–inspired tale about a pair of star-crossed lovers in New York City, will be getting a modern update. Steven Spielberg is set to take on the task of recreating the classic, which first hit the big screen back in 1961 to rave reviews, and received multiple accolades after its release.
The new West Side Story will star Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars, Baby Driver), and newcomer Rachel Zegler as star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, along with some of Broadway’s biggest stars.
Here is everything we know about West Side Story remake so far.
What will the movie be about?
The movie is based on the 1957 Broadway musical by playwright Arthur Laurents. The story takes place on the Upper West Side and centers on the rivalry between two gangs of teenagers—the Sharks and the Jets. The Sharks are Puerto Rican and the Jets are an opposing white gang from the same neighborhood. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the basis of the romance between Tony and Maria. Tony, former Jets member and best friend to Riff, the gang’s leader, falls in love with Maria, whose brother is Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks.
Who is in the cast?
Back in January, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Ansel Elgort will be playing Tony, while 17-year-old Rachel Zegler will star alongside him as Maria. Zegler auditioned for the part after an open casting call for Latinx actors. Zegler responded to the call with a video of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa,” and managed to secure a call back.
“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Zegler told The Hollywood Reporter. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”
The Hollywood Reporter also revealed that some Broadway power players would be joining the cast: Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, A Bronx Tale: The Musical, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) will star as Anita, David Alvarez (Billy Elliot: The Musical) will play Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera (Hamilton) will play Chino. According to Deadline, Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen, Newsies) will play Riff, while Puerto Rican actress, singer, and dancer Ana Isabelle (Imprisoned, Strangers) will play Rosalia, who works with Maria. Maddie Ziegler, Dance Moms alumnus and muse to Sia, has been cast as a member of the Jets.
Rita Moreno, legend and EGOT, played Anita in the original, and will be an executive producer this time around. Moreno will also take a reworked role: “Instead of Doc who owns the candy store, I am going to play Valentina who owns the candy store,” she told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Live With Kelly and Ryan.
What other productions of West Side Story are there?
Four years after West Side Story hit Broadway in 1957, the production was made into a film. The film, which follows the same plot as the play, starred Natalie Wood (Maria), Richard Beymer (Tony), Rita Moreno (Anita), Russ Tamblyn (Riff), and George Chakiris (Bernardo). The film earned 10 Academy Awards in 1962, making it the musical film with the most Oscar wins ever.
When does the movie come out?
Though filming for West Side Story is set to begin this summer, there is no information yet about when the film will be released.
Is there a trailer yet?
There’s no trailer for the film at this stage, but you can get to know the 1961 version in the meantime.