That's a wrap! Steven Spielberg has concluded filming on his West Side Story remake, which is set to arrive in theaters next year. This is a passion project for the legendary filmmaker, who has been developing the musical, somewhat quietly, for the past four years. Now, it's in the can and Spielberg had some heartfelt words to share in a letter that has been released online, alongside some new photos.
The photos showcase some behind the scenes looks at the massive cast, including Ansel Elgort's Tony and Rachel Zegler's Maria, who topline the cast. We also get a look at Oscar-winner Rita Moreno, who returns to the world of West Side Story after having played the part of Maria in the 1961 adaptation, for which she won an Academy Award. In his letter, Steven Spielberg had this to say.
"This has been a journey without precedence: a joyful, stunningly moving, endlessly surprising encounter with the story and score of one of the world's greatest musicals. My brilliantly talented, fiercely committed, generous and apparently inexhaustible cast and crew of hundreds have given our film everything they've got, and I can already say the film we'll be releasing on December 18, 2020 owes everything to them, as does its immensely grateful director."
Production kicked off on the new adaptation of the classic Leonard Bernstein musical back in June. Even though Steven Spielberg has done just about everything there is to do in the world of filmmaking, rather successfully, this is the first time he's taking on a full-blown musical, which should make it exciting, even for those who don't typically enjoy this sort of song and dance. Spielberg continued in his letter, expressing his gratitude.
"While I'm on the subject of gratitude: One every day of the past four years during which we've been preparing, casting, imagining West Side Story, I and my team, cast, and crew have been walking in the footsteps of our giants: Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim. For the light they've shed on the world, for Stephen Sondheim's insight, guidance, and support, and for the openhearted support of the Bernstein, Laurents, and Robbins estates, I owe more than I can possibly express."
West Side Story remains one of the most heralded musicals of all time. The story is something of a Romeo and Juliet tale, centering on a gang rivalry between the Sharks and the Jets. This turf war gets complicated when Tony falls in love with a rival gang member's sister, Maria. The 1961 movie adaptation, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture.
Next up for Mr. Spielberg is Indiana Jones 5, which is expected to shoot next year for release in summer 2021. As for West Side Story, it's set to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2020.