west side story first look

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of fingers snapping menacingly as the rival Jets and the Sharks gangs prepare to face off on the big screen once again in Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming West Side Story. Amblin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox have released the first look at Spielberg’s remake of the beloved musical last adapted as the classic 1961 film starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer. Now, Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler take center stage as the new Tony and Maria in the West Side Story first look.

West Side Story First Look

west side story

You can practically hear the snaps echoing off this first image from West Side Story, which shows Maria (uber-talented newcomer Rachel Zegler) and Tony (Ansel Elgort) gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes as the Sharks and Jets glare at each other on opposite ends. This one image perfectly captures the gist of the musical, which tells the Romeo and Juliet-inspired story of two star-crossed lovers who navigate a romance among tension between rival gangs in the streets of 1957 New York City. Cast members David Alvarez (Billy Elliott: The Musical), who plays Maria’s brother and Sharks leader Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera (Hamilton) who plays Chino, a gang member and key figure in the story, also appear in this picture.

Here is the full list of cast members that appear in the image, from left to right:

Jets members Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); Jets leader Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins); Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler); Maria’s brother and Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez); and Sharks members Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú).

The star-studded cast also includes Ariana DeBose (Anita), Ana Isabelle (Rosalia); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke), Curtiss Cook (Abe), and original film star Rita Moreno in a new expanded role.

West Side Story has long been a passion project for Spielberg, who has been flirting with the idea of remaking the classic musical for nearly five years. This will be Spielberg’s first stab at directing a musical and, legendary filmmaker though he is, he has quite a legacy to live up to. The 1961 film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won 10, including Best Picture, and to this day remains a time-honored classic shown in English classes across the nation. But Spielberg has his own heavy hitters on his team. Frequent Spielberg collaborator Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln) is writing the screenplay, while Tony Award winner Justin Peck will choreograph the musical numbers in the film. They will be adapting the original 1957 Broadway musical written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins.

Filming is set to begin this summer with a scheduled release date of December 18, 2020.

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