Steven Spielberg Says He'll Never Direct A Musical Again After West Side Story

Steven Spielberg is 75 years young and he's had a long, fruitful career spanning six decades' worth of Oscars nominations. However, Spielberg just got around to finally directing a good old-fashioned musical, his 2021 remake of "West Side Story." Among other accolades, the film earned him and co-producer Kristie Macosko Krieger a nomination for the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, the top prize at the 2022 Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards. 

If you think Spielberg and musicals are a match made in movie heaven, then enjoy "West Side Story," because it's the last one of those he'll be directing. Ahead of the PGA Awards, where Spielberg and Krieger ultimately lost to the producers of "Coda," Spielberg spoke at a breakfast, where he said (via The Hollywood Reporter):

"The worst day of the 'West Side Story' shoot was the last day, because I knew I wouldn't direct another musical."

As THR notes and as we previously reported, Spielberg and his production company, Amblin, are behind the upcoming film adaptation of the musical based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Color Purple." So he's still got at least one other musical that he's shepherding — as a producer, mind you. Spielberg, of course, directed his own 1985 non-musical adaptation of Walker's book, and one of that film's stars, Oprah Winfrey, is co-producing this new adaptation alongside him, Quincy Jones, and Scott Sanders, with Walker herself and others acting as executive producers. However, filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, who helmed Beyoncé's "Black is King," will be the one actually directing this new version of "The Color Purple."

Bring on that Western

Spielberg flirted with directing a musical at various times in his career, such as the opening nightclub sequence of "Indiana Jones at the Temple of Doom," where his own future wife, Kate Capshaw, sang "Anything Goes" in an elaborately choreographed musical number (and in Mandarin Chinese, no less). With "West Side Story," Spielberg was finally able to move beyond isolated scenes and do a full-length musical feature, and now, as he moves ever forward like the shark in "Jaws" — or a Shark gang member snapping his fingers and doing some dance steps — he seems ready to move onto other things.

It's always possible Spielberg could change his mind about directing another musical after "West Side Story," but at this late stage in his career, he may want to reserve his time for checking some other things off his bucket list. In December, we heard that his next movie after "West Side Story" will be a Western, and that's another style of filmmaking harkening back to Hollywood's Golden Age that we've yet to see him undertake as a directorial challenge. If we can't get another "West Side Story" from Spielberg, maybe a Western is the next best thing.