January 25, 2018 at 8:47 am #1202478343
It’s Official: Steven Spielberg is Remaking “West Side Story,” Pro-Forma Casting Call Goes Out for Leads
by Roger Friedman
There’s a place for Steven Spielberg, and apparently it’s on New York’s Upper West Side in the 1950s. A casting call has gone out for a remake of “West Side Story,” written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, author of Spielberg’s terrific “Lincoln” screenplay and, of course, “Angels in America.”
It’s a pro-forma casting call because, in the end, the new “West Side Story” is going to need stars. Big names. And because of the setting and the time we are in, it’s going to need actual Puerto Ricans or Latinos for the parts of characters like Maria, Anita, and Bernardo. There will be no fudging this in 2018. The casting call says in capital letters: MUST BE ABLE TO SPEAK SPANISH.
Of course, our lead, Tony, is a nice Caucasian boy who falls in love with Maria. He’ll be tougher to find because he’s got to be able to sing like crazy, be physically fit, etc. You know someone asked Can Ansel Elgort sing? Every young guy on Broadway is calling his agent or hoping to meet Spielberg at a SAG Q&A for “The Post.”
Spielberg’s not taking any chances trying to remake a classic film. He’s got the producer of the 2009 Broadway revival of “West Side Story,” Kevin McCollum, as a producer on the film. What we don’t know yet is who will be the choreographer? Susan Stroman? She’s pretty busy. This week she’s workshopping a new version of Gershwin’s “Crazy for You” set for the fall. But she’s probably at the top of Spielberg’s list.
New PS: Yes, Ansel can sing. I forgot he released a couple of singles. Here he is on James Corden. I guarantee you he’ll be Tony.January 25, 2018 at 9:30 am #1202478400
Please no Emma Watson. Please…
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"We will always have Paris"January 25, 2018 at 9:36 am #1202478404
I think it’s important to note that Tony and the Jets were descendants of Eastern European (Polish iirc) immigrants and not WASPs in the daughters of the Revolutionary War sense, so there’s a lot of disdain by Officer Krupke and others there too. So they’ve been fighting about being considered new immigrants and othered and then an influx of Puerto Ricans come in and are fighting for the same limited space. I think there’s a lot to take away there that’s highly relevant to the immigrant and racial experience we have in this country. This has nothing to do with casting, but I hope Kusher makes that part more obvious because it seems to get lost with people.January 25, 2018 at 9:37 am #1202478407
This should be interesting to see how it’ll turn out given how much the 1961 film version of the Broadway musical has been cited as one of the greatest movie musicals ever made, if not, the greatest.January 28, 2018 at 10:53 pm #1202482320
Why isn’t Steven directing Ragtime instead of this?! He’d be a much better fit, and it makes more sense for the current climate. Whatever. Here’s to another movie he’ll make that gets an 88% on rotten tomatoes.
“Someone is staring at you in ‘Personal Growth’.”January 29, 2018 at 1:57 am #1202482407
No reason to tackle this whatsoever.February 3, 2018 at 9:10 am #1202486520
I’m currently doing a series on my blog titled ‘The Best Picture Backstory’, where I give the backstories behind several previous Best Picture winners. The way I’m doing them is by starting with the plot synopsis, followed by the how the film itself came to be, and end with its success on Oscar night.
Here’s my most recent post, and it is on the 1961 film version of West Side Story…
The Best Picture Backstory: WEST SIDE STORYFebruary 3, 2018 at 11:42 am #1202486568
I am currently not here for this. Why remake the greatest musical I’ve seen. Why not remake Blue Angel, or something else.February 10, 2018 at 7:54 pm #1202491496
Playbill.com recently asked readers who they’d like to see in the reboot, and here are the results…
While several of these choices are way too old to be playing teenagers (especially on screen), I will say that some of my favorites were Ben Platt as Tony and Auli’i Cravalho as Maria.February 10, 2018 at 9:32 pm #1202491509