Maureen Lee Lenker
Te Adoro, Anton Ansel! Ansel Elgort will never stop saying “Maria.”
The Baby Driver star has been cast as Tony in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, producers announced on Monday. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tony Kushner adapted the script from the original 1957 Broadway book written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics from Stephen Sondheim. Spielberg, Kevin McCollum, and Kristie Macosko Krieger will produce.
The beloved musical, the original film adaptation of which won the 1962 Best Picture Oscar, is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet transposed to late 1950s New York City. It explores the rivalry between two warring street gangs, the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks, amidst simmering racial tensions. Tony adds fuel to the fire when he falls for Maria, the younger sister of the leader of the Sharks, and the two forge a forbidden bond.
The original film starred Richard Beymer as Tony (Larry Kert originated the role in the 1957 Broadway musical) and featured an all-star cast including Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Rita Moreno, and Russ Tamblyn. Elgort will tackle some of the show’s most memorable songs, including the beloved ballad “Maria” and romantic duets, “Somewhere,” “One Hand, One Heart,” and “Tonight.”
Justin Peck, who won a Tony award for his work on ‘Carousel,’ was recently announced as the film’s choreographer, suggesting the remake will maintain its ties to Jerome Robbins’ ballet-inspired original choreography.
The producers have seen thousands of dancers, singers, and actors across the country over the last several months after putting out a casting call for the remake, specifically noting a call for actors for Tony, Maria, Anita, and Bernardo with the note “must be able to sing” and “dance experience a plus.”
Elgort(24) most recently showed off his natural musicality as the title character in Baby Driver and will next be seen in The Goldfinch. He first broke out as the lead in the teen drama The Fault in Our Stars, which fittingly takes its title from Shakespeare.
Filming is scheduled to begin in summer 2019.
Te Adoro, Anton! Ansel Elgort to Play Tony in Steven Spielberg WEST SIDE STORY
by Alexa Criscitiello
Something's coming! It has been revealed that film star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Fault In Our Stars) has been cast in the leading role of Tony in Steven Spielberg's upcoming remake of the movie musical West Side Story.
Elgort will be stepping into the iconic role originated by Larry Kert on Broadway and embodied by Richard Beymer in the classic film. Check out a clip of Ansel singing below before he takes on Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's challenging score!
ANGELS IN AMERICA scribe Tony Kushner is currently working on a script. Joining Spielberg as producers are Kevin McCollum and Kristie Macosko Krieger.
The 1961 musical drama film WEST SIDE STORY was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris.
Released on October 18, 1961 through United Artists, the film became the second highest grossing film of the year in the United States and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including Best Picture (as well as a special award for Robbins), BECOMING the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical.