Watch The Greatest Love Story of All Time

Ariana DeBose as Anita in 20th Century Studios’ West Side Story.

At a time where a pandemic and more seems to be pushing us apart, the perfect movie is here to bring us all together. The legendary tale of West Side Story is coming back, and it’s better than ever. When the new film adaptation premieres December 10, 2021, you’ll find yourself entranced by new talent and a fresh twist on the old musical. 

West Side Story was an instant hit when it originally emerged in 1957. It tells the story of two adversarial street gangs in New York, and the forbidden love caught in between their chaos. Tony, a tennager with ties to the white “Jets” gang, falls head over heels for Maria, who happens to be the sister of the rival Puerto Rican “Sharks” gang’s head member. The tension of the rivalry produces not only love, but ultimately tragedy as well. Inspired by the tale of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story was first written as a book by Arthur Laurents. With ensuing success, it was turned into a hit Broadway musical that has toured for decades and even an award-winning film, which premiered in 1961 and featured big names like Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno.

The 2021 adaptation of this film has been crafted by some heavy hitters in entertainment! Produced and directed by veteran filmmaker Steven Speilberg, this year’s adaptation of West Side Story is in great hands.​​The cast features Angel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Fault In Our Stars), introduces actress Rachel Zegler as his love interest, and even features a return from Rita Moreno! The newest screenplay was written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner.  It was produced with the help of Tony Award-winner Kevin McCollum and Academy Award-nominee Kristie Macosko Krieger. When it comes to the music, they pulled together the best of the best. The music team includes legendary conductor Gustavo Dudamel and Academy Award-nominee composer and conductor David Newman, who helped craft the score, Additionally, Grammy-nominee Matt Sullivan served as executive music producer. The dance numbers that have become a key part of the Story will receive a fresh update from Tony Award winner Justin Peck. ​​The cast features Angel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Fault In Our Stars), introduces actress Rachel Zegler as his love interest, and even features a return from Rita Moreno! Moreno, who is one of only three entertainers in the world to receive an Academy, Emmy, GRAMMY, Tony, and Peabody Awards, is an executive producer on the film. 

VIewers can anticipate that the new film will maintain the magic of the original story, while also being updated for the times. Spielberg recently shared that pulling the remake together was both a complex and rewarding project. complexity of the remake. “West Side Story is arguably the greatest score ever written in the theater, and that’s not lost on any of us,” he said. “It’s very intimidating to take a masterpiece and make it through different eyes and different sensibilities without compromising the integrity of what is generally considered the greatest music ever written for the theater. But I believe that great stories should be told over and over again, in part to reflect different perspectives and moments in time into the work.” 

Speilberg’s adaptation comes at a very pivotal time in our country. Centered around xenophobia, or the prejudice of people from other countries, there is much that can be connected to real situations today. In the film, it is the mindset of the Irish-descent members of the “Sharks” street gang as superior that creates the tension with the Puerto Rican members of the “Jets” and their community at large. Much can be connected to the United States’ changing demographics thanks to an influx of Mexican, Asian, and Haitian nationals for example. With the original West Side Story film adaptation winning 10 Oscars, we’re looking forward to how this year’s version will tell the story in a refreshing way. 

Catch West Side Story when it premieres in theaters December 10, 2021.