Even with worries about viewership following several award ceremonies with flagging figures, the Oscars deliver a solid audience. And what better place (aside from, possibly the Super Bowl) to launch your new film. If you were wondering what Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story would look like, the first footage arrived during one of the ceremony’s ad breaks across the pond.
Front and centre are our star-crossed couple, Tony and Maria, this time played by Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler – and they’re flanked by the Jets on the left, and Sharks on the right. The young cast largely consists of up-and-comers, but elsewhere the film has the likes of Corey Stoll and Brian d’Arcy James on board.
Plus Rita Moreno, who starred as Anita in the 1961 version, returns in a reimagined role here as Valentina – owner of the corner story where lead Tony works, named ‘Doc’ in previous versions. Spielberg worked from a screenplay by Munich and Lincoln writer Tony Kushner, and re-teamed with his regular cinematographer Janusz Kaminski.
Given the original’s award-winning and critical status, this is a serious one to live up to. Has Spielberg pulled it off? We’ll find out on 10 December…