Ansel Elgort will take on the role which was originated by Larry Kert on Broadway in 1957. The iconic screen adaptation of 1961 starred Richard Beymer as Tony and Natalie Wood as Maria.
Oscar nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner is writing the latest adaptation of the musical which was inspired by the star-crossed lovers story in William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim wrote the original play and Leonard Bernstein wrote the music. Jerome Robbins was the original choreographer and Justin Peck will be handling that duty for Spielberg’s film adaptation.
West Side Story will be produced by Spielberg, Kevin McCollum and Kristie Macosko Krieger.
Spielberg’s been busy searching for actors and dancers to fill out the roles of the Sharks and the Jets. He recently held open casting calls in Puerto Rico, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York.
Ansel Elgort’s feature film credits include The Fault in Our Stars, Billionaire Boys Club, the Divergent film series, and the remake of Carrie. He recently wrapped up work on The Goldfinch directed by John Crowley and co-starring Sarah Paulson, Nicole Kidman, and Jeffrey Wright. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Baby Driver and a Critics’ Choice Awards nomination for his performance in The Fault in Our Stars.
Steven Spielberg’s most recent directorial efforts include The Post, Ready Player One, The BFG, and Bridge of Spies.
Filming is planned to kick off in the summer of 2019.
The West Side Story Plot:
“West Side Story explores forbidden love, and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.”