October 2, 2018 5:39 am
October 2, 2018 5:39 am
Actor Ansel Elgort Will Be West Side Story's Tony

Steven Spielberg has been planning a new version of musical classic West Side Story for a few years now, but other commitments have pushed it further and further back. Now, with delays hitting various projects, he’s looking to make it next and has cast Ansel Elgort as Tony.

Inspired by Romeo And Juliet, West Side Story re-sets the feuding families become as warring New York City gangs – the white Jets led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Riff’s best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo’s younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love. Maria and Tony begin meeting in secret, planning to run away.

Then the Sharks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway – whoever wins gains control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop it, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong, and before the lovers know what’s happened, tragedy strikes and doesn’t stop until the climactic and heartbreaking ending. The 1961 original, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and adapted from the 1957 stage musical won 10 Oscar awards. Its haul included Best Picture, Best Director (shared for the first time), Best Adapted Screenplay for Ernest Lehman and Best Supporting Actress for Rita Moreno. So Spielberg certainly has a challenge on his hands.

He also has Tony Kushner writing the new script and a casting search narrowing down. The cameras should be rolling, and the fingers clicking next summer.