It’s getting closer. For months now, film fans have eagerly sought news about the upcoming adaptation of West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg. Having survived the aftermath of the Disney-Fox deal, West Side Story is set for release on Dec. 18, 2020. On Monday, Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment released a first photo from the movie, featuring members of the rival Sharks and Jets gangs arrayed across a New York City street.
West Side Story is most famous for the iconic 1961 film version, but Spielberg’s take is an adaptation of the original 1957 Broadway musical, written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. To match that pantheon of legends, Spielberg’s West Side Story is written by celebrated playwright Tony Kushner (who earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay of Spielberg’s Lincoln) and choreographed by Tony Award-winning Justin Peck.
West Side Story is, essentially, a transplant of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to the streets of ’50s New York City. Instead of the warring Montague and Capulet families, the main conflict in the story is a rivalry between two gangs, the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. When Jets co-founder Tony falls in love with Maria, the sister of the Sharks leader, it sets off fireworks that will have repercussions for everyone.
Above, get your first look at the cast of the new film. Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler star as Tony and Maria. The rest of the cast 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 Oscar for portraying Anita in the 1961 film, will play Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works.