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First trailer for Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' debuts during Oscars

By Kara Santos Published Apr 26, 2021 4:27 pm

The first official trailer for West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg, was unveiled during the Oscars on Sunday night.

20th Century Studio released the first teaser trailer for Spielberg’s adaptation of the 1961 musical film classic that tells the tale of fierce rivalries and young love in New York City. 

The story, which draws inspiration from William Shakespeare's play Romeo And Juliet, follows star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria. The two, despite having affiliations with rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, the Jets and Sharks, fall in love. 

Directed by Academy Award winner Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tony Kushner, this reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) as Tony and newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria. 

The film also stars Ariana DeBose (Hamilton), Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen), and Brian d’Arcy James (Spotlight, Shrek The Musical). Rita Morena, who won an Oscar for her role as Anita in the original movie, will also return for the remake in a new supporting role.

The 20th Century film wrapped production in October 2019 and has been awaiting release after being delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This has been a journey without precedence: a joyful, stunning, moving, endlessly surprising encounter with the story and score of one of the world’s greatest musicals,” Spielberg previously wrote to mark the end of production.

“We filmed West Side Story all over New York, Flatbush to Fort Tryon Park. The city lent us its beauty and its energy, and we drew deeply upon its grand multicultural, multifaceted spirit,” he added. 

West Side Story was first adapted for the screen in 1961 from the original 1957 Broadway show, with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Based on the trailer, it seems Spielberg's 2021 version is keeping faithful to the original source materials.

The original film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and and won ten, including George Chakris for Supporting Actor, Rita Moreno for Supporting Actress and Best Picture.

The trailer gives fans glimpses at some of the musical’s most famous songs like “Dance at the Gym” and “Tonight,” which seem to share the original version’s theatrical scale and colors.

From 20th Century Studios, The Walt Disney Company will release West Side Story in US theaters on December 10, 2021.

(Images via 20th Century Studios)