20th Century Studios debuted the first full-length trailer for West Side Story, director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the legendary 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
At a little over two minutes long, the new trailer is set to the song Tonight, and squeezes in some breathtaking visuals, lays out the Romeo and Juliet-inspired premise of the story, and reveals that star Rachel Zegler is putting on a thick accent. She plays Maria Vasquez, a young woman who finds herself drawn to Ansel Elgort’s Tony in 1950s New York.
Their relationship incites violence as two street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds collide. The confrontation comes to a head with a showdown that every piece of marketing for this movie has been teasing through that instantly-iconic overhead shot, filmed by Spielberg’s longtime cinematographer Janusz Kamiński.
This is Spielberg’s first-ever musical, which might seem a little overdue for a director whose filmography includes summer blockbusters, science-fiction epics, period dramas and one motion capture adventure. West Side Story, after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arrives in the same year as director Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ In the Heights, another musical set in New York City, featuring a sprawling Latinx cast of characters. That film, despite the tremendous buzz and excellent reviews, underperformed at the box office.
It remains to be seen if the thematic overlap between the two movies affects West Side Story, but it can’t be denied that the film is being released during a period of resurgence for big screen musicals. Recent hits include La La Land and The Greatest Showman, not to mention Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and A Star is Born.
In addition to Zegler and Elgort, West Side Story also stars Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll and Brian d’Arcy James. Rita Moreno, one of only three artists to be honored with Academy, Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Peabody Awards, stars as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works. Moreno won her Oscar for playing Anita in the 1961 adaptation of the musical, directed by Robert Wise.
West Side Story will dance into theaters on December 10. You can watch the trailer here, and read the official synopsis down below:
Directed by Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner Tony Kushner, West Side Story tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City.
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1091 Pictures will release the film on Digital and On-Demand on October 12.
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