The first trailer for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story has been released. The new version of the classic musical hits theaters on December 10.
The trailer is very much a first teaser–it contains no dialogue or shots of the actors singing. But it is visually stunning, with striking shots of New York in the 1950s and of the gang members assembling in the streets, ready to fight (and sing) it out. Lead actors Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort look perfectly cast in the roles of conflicted lovers Maria and Tony, and it’s likely to be one of the biggest movies of the Holiday season when it arrives. Check the trailer out below:
West Side Story’s supporting cast is drawn from the world of theater, and it also includes Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, The Prom), David Alvarez (Billy Elliot the Musical), and Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen). Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for playing Maria in the 1961 movie version, also has a supporting role and worked as executive producer.
The movie’s screenplay was written by Tony Kushner, who previously worked with Spielberg on Lincoln and Munich. It’s adapted from Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim’s 1957 Broadway hit, which was itself a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
While the earlier film used white actors in make-up to play Puerto Rican characters, Spielberg’s movie is far more representative in its casting. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the director explained that it was important to cast actors from the Latinx community this time round.
“They brought an authenticity,” he said. “They brought themselves, and everything they believe and everything about them–they brought that to the work. And there was so much interaction between the cast wanting to be able to commit to the Puerto Rican experience. They all represent, I think, a diversity, both within the Puerto Rican, Nuyorican community as well as the broader Latinx community. And they took that seriously.”