Legendary director Steven Spielberg explains why he wanted to remake the classic musical / movie, West Side Story, saying it stems from his childhood.
Famous filmmaker Steven Spielberg revealed why he decided to remake the hit 1961 musical West Side Story. Throughout his very impressive career, Spielberg has won three Oscars, pushed the boundaries of cinema and can even be credited with launching what is now called the “summer blockbuster”. Yet throughout his lengthy filmography, the 74-year-old living movie legend has never taken on a musical until now.
When it was first released in 1957, West Side Story could only be considered as a Broadway production by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein. The production was so successful that in 1961 a film adaptation was released, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film continued the success of theatrical production, winning 10 Oscars and solidifying its place as one of the most successful stage adaptations of all time. Given the film’s rather high status, a West Side Story the remake is not only an extremely intimidating prospect for any filmmaker, but it could also be argued that the film has been so successful and is being enjoyed so much that there is no need to try and reboot it at all.
Yet despite these kinds of reservations, if anyone had a chance to successfully remake West Side Story, it seems logical that this is Spielberg. Its adaptation (still set in the 1950s) will officially release next month and promises to be quite a spectacle. But with Spielberg’s cinematic background spanning everything from dinosaurs to aliens on bicycles, it may seem odd to some that he chooses to focus on revamping a 60-year-old musical instead of doing something new. As Yahoo reports, Spielberg’s fascination with West Side Story stems from his childhood. Read the director’s full explanation below:
âI was challenged to know what would be the right musical to play. And I could never forget my childhood. I was 10 years old when I first listened to the West Side Story album, and it never went away. I was able to make this dream come true and keep this promise that I made to myself: You must Make West Side Story. Divisions between like-minded people are as old as time itself. And the divisions between the Sharks and the Jets in 1957, which inspired the musical, were deep. But not as divided as we find ourselves today. As it turned out in the middle of script development things got wider, which I think in a sense, unfortunately, made the story of those racial – not just territorial – divisions more relevant to the storyline. audience today than it may even have been in 1957.. “
The original West Side Story musical tells the story of a young love story in the midst of a New York gang rivalry. The original story was modeled on Shakespeare’s timeless classic Romeo and Juliet, and featured large-scale dance numbers on New York’s Upper West Side. Sadly, although the story centers on two gangs (one Puerto Rican and the other white), few of the actors in the 1961 film were even Hispanic. Instead, white makeup actors were used – a mistake Spielberg was careful not to repeat in his film remake.
Anyone who even knows Spielberg a little knows that he is a real force to face when it comes to rewarding season honors. West Side Story isn’t likely to appeal to as large an audience as some of his previous work, but with modern society as fractured as it often is, Spielberg could certainly be on to something when he says this latest cinematic effort is may be “more relevant” than ever. And given Spielberg’s lifetime promise to reboot this iconic film that meant so much to him as a young man, it’s safe to say that the most recent West Side Story is in good hands.
Next: Why The West Side Story Trailer Hides So Many Major Elements
- History of the West Side (2021)Release Date: December 10, 2021
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