Steven Spielberg is remaking “West Side Story” and people are flipping out!
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) January 26, 2018
It’s been reported that Spielberg is directing a remake of the 1961 musical classic “West Side Story.” Spielberg is apparently keeping very busy these days. The legendary director is also working on directing the fifth installment to the Indiana Jones franchise next year, which is set to be released in 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Aside from directing this new and exciting version of “West Side Story,” Spielberg is full immersed in the casting details for this project as well.
The main reason people are thrilled over this new version is because the main characters must be Spanish-speaking Latinos.
"There will be no fudging this in 2018. The casting call says in capital letters: MUST BE ABLE TO SPEAK SPANISH." https://t.co/mm66tls2B8
— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) January 25, 2018
The casting notice clearly indicates that the lead actors must be able to sing and dance, as would be expected. However, the call also says actors must be Spanish-speaking Latinos, as the characters were intended to be.
If you don’t know the film or even the musical it’s based off of, it’s your basic Romeo and Juliet story but instead of Verona in the 1300s, “West Side Story” is set in Manhattan in the 1950s. It has yet to be revealed if the remake will also take place in that era or in present day.
The main characters are Tony and Maria, a caucasian boy and Puerto Rican girl who fall for each other despite their love being forbidden. There’s also Bernardo, Maria’s big brother and a gang leader who had beautifully choreographed dance fights against the rival gang, the Jets. His girlfriend, Anita, was Maria’s best friend and confidant who could dance up a storm.
As you may recall in the original film, the lead actors were not Puerto Rican except for Rita Moreno, who played Anita.
The white actors who starred in the film wore brown makeup and affected thick, inauthentic accents. The lead role of Maria was played by Natalie Wood, who didn’t actually do any of her own singing for the film.
The casting notice is out and producers are looking for a Tony, Maria, Anita, and Bernardo.
— Marci Liroff (@marciliroff) January 26, 2018
It’s also being reported that the new version of “West Side Story” will include the very talented Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the 2009 Broadway production of “West Side Story,” the song “I Feel Pretty” was altered to be sung in Spanish, with new lyrics translated by Miranda.
It’s clear that studio heads are finally taking notice that people are tired of #OscarsSoWhite and hiring Latinos for major Hollywood roles.
Here’s how people are taking the news on social media.
— jessica molina (@heyjessmolina) January 26, 2018
I hope to enjoy the West Side Story remake. I am waiting for casting w bated breath!
— Harper Yi (@HarperYi) January 26, 2018
I love Kushner and Spielberg but whew this is my favorite musical… I’m all here for a West Side Story that fixes the whitewashing sins of the original though
— Ira Madison III (@ira) January 26, 2018