In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, legendary director Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, a million more) revealed that he has secured the rights to a West Side Story remake, confirming the rumors that he’s planning on breathing new life into the classic ‘60s movie musical.
Apparently this remake is something of a lifelong dream for the esteemed director, who revealed that he sought the rights for the first time more than a decade ago. Screenwriter Tony Kushner, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America, is reportedly working on the script, which will be produced in partnership with Fox and MGM Studios. The Kushner-written, Spielberg-directed partnership has been exercised and proven successful before on box-office hits like Munich and Lincoln, and holds the potential to modernize a masterly film that we’d ordinarily advise not to mess with.
A movie musical adaptation is a new direction even for a seasoned director like Spielberg, and even with Kushner helming the script, it’s dangerous to try to revive a classic formula as entrenched in the American consciousness as West Side Story. Still, if the project proves triumphant, it could follow in the footsteps of the original movie, which won 10 Academy Awards and still remains one of the most decorated films of all time.
Also like the original film, a West Side Story remake would open up more roles for Latinx actors and actresses and pave a path for the historically underrepresented minority group to earn major film awards, like Rita Moreno, who earned an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita and became the first Latin-American actress to win an award for best supporting actress. Not much else is known about the script, casting or a projected release date at press time, but stay tuned for details.