by Alexa Criscitiello
Something's coming, something GOOD!
This week at an event honoring playwright, Tony Kushner, the Angels in America author who is penning the screenplay to Steven Spielberg's remake of West Side Story dropped some major details on the project,
According to Kushner, the upcoming remake will not be a carbon copy of the classic 1961 original film, but a new retelling that takes its cues more from the original Broadway show than the film.
"It's not a straightforward remake [of the movie], but it's definitely the Jets and the Sharks. It's New York City. I think people will find a new way to love the story and to love the songs through our interpretation," Kushner told Vanity Fair at the event.
He added, "The way I approached it and the way Steven is approaching it is using the great text-the Leonard Bernstein score, which is arguably the most beautiful score ever written for musical theater, and Arthur Laurents's original book is a masterpiece. And we started building from that."
Kushner has also revealed that the film will include all of the iconic songs in the score,
The new version will also place focus on realism, both in terms of casting and in storytelling. Kushner tells VF "There are aspects of urban life in '57, '58, '59 that weren't touched on in the 1961 movie that we are focusing on,"
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author also dropped some details on recently revealed film star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Fault In Our Stars) who has recently been cast in the leading role of Tony.
"He's a wonderful singer, it turns out, and a really terrific dancer. Steven went with him, and we're very excited. I think the rest of the cast is going to be very exciting too."
Kushner hasn't commented on any additional casting, however, it is rumored that young stars Camila Cabello, Liam Payne, and Naya Rivera are also in consideration to join the cast.
The film's director Steven Spielberg played things a bit closer to the chest, telling VF, "I don't like to talk about things when I'm in the process. I'm still discovering things as I am working on the film. But I think it's going to be special."
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.