The career of Steven Spielberg has been marked by innumerable box office blockbusters, but it’s somehow still surprising that the man continues to produce at this kind of level. Now 74, the director is tackling legendary Broadway musical West Side Story, with an adaptation that looks as visually resplendent as anything we’ve ever seen from Spielberg before. Every frame of the newly released trailer looks like a work of art, and it’s likely to draw interest even from those who typically have no interest in movie musicals.
Spielberg has stated that his version of West Side Story is not an attempt to remake the iconic 1961 film adaptation by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, but rather a more direct film adaptation of the original 1957 Broadway musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, which was of course based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Regardless, there are indeed references to the first film, such as the appearance of 89-year-old star Rita Moreno, who is also an executive producer on this project. One wonders if we might even see her dance a bit—perhaps the magic of West Side Story just can’t be denied.
Spielberg’s film stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, although one will note that in all the footage we’ve seen so far, Elgort in particular has only a single line, whereas much of the trailer is focused around Zegler as the cinematic ingenue. One wonders if perhaps Elgort is being held out of the marketing as a way to reduce his visibility, after he was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman on Twitter in 2020—charges that he denied. Regardless, one wonders how you can market a West Side Story adaptation with only Maria, rather than Maria and Tony.
Regardless, Spielberg’s adaptation additionally stars Hamilton’s Ariana DeBose, along with David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andres Rivera, Corey Stoll, Maddie Ziegler and Brian d’Arcy James. It’s currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on Dec. 10, 2021, after having been delayed a year by the pandemic. Check out the full trailer below.