Steven Spielberg has made movies that have jets and sharks before, but never quite like this.
After years of rumors, Spielberg is officially set to direct a remake of the classic musical West Side Story. He talked about it to The Hollywood Reporter back in 2016, but a new casting call (below) confirms that he’s collaborating with Tony winner and Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner on a new version of the Oscar-winning 1961 musical.
The original film was based on the hit Broadway musical, which was a then-modern update of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York City. It centers on Tony, a former member of a street gang known as the Jets, and Maria, sister of the leader of the rival Sharks.
According to the casting call, Spielberg is looking to fill the key roles of Tony, Maria, Anita, and Bernardo, and the announcement specifically calls for Latina and Latino performers for the latter three roles. That’s a sign that Spielberg won’t whitewash the story. In the original movie, those three parts were played by Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno (who is Puerto Rican), and George Chakiris. Tony will be played by a white actor. In the original, Richard Beymer played that role.
The actors must be between the ages of 15 and 25, and they need to be able to sing, obviously. Dance experience is “a plus,” and we bet you need to know how to snap your fingers.
About a week ago, there were reports that Spielberg’s next project could be the fifth Indiana Jones movie, but this might mean that flick is still down the line.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) January 26, 2018