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West Side Story (2020)

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I didn’t see this topic already here, so if I am wrong, please delete this post! 
 

Vanity Fair has a first-look article at Spielberg’s new version of the classic musical, scheduled for release on December 18, 2020.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/03/a-first-look-at-steven-spielbergs-west-side-story?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=onsite-share&utm_brand=vanity-fair&utm_social-type=earned

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2 hours ago, Sharpie66 said:

I didn’t see this topic already here, so if I am wrong, please delete this post! 
 

Vanity Fair has a first-look article at Spielberg’s new version of the classic musical, scheduled for release on December 18, 2020.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/03/a-first-look-at-steven-spielbergs-west-side-story?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=onsite-share&utm_brand=vanity-fair&utm_social-type=earned

I hate this, why is he ruining a classic?

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Spielberg:  You've gone too far.  You don't fuck with West Side Story.  I hope the remake crashes and burns.

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I so agree with you all. How do you improve on a masterpiece? This is a remake that never should have been done. No offense to SS, but dude wtf?

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14 hours ago, wingster55 said:

Maybe he wanted a less white-washed version. 

A less brown-face version, a version that plays out the old story with an awareness of our current sociopolitical environment, and it's been 60 years so why not have a new version that might resonate more with "today's youth". This story has been presented many times over the past six decades on stage and in film; this is just one more performance. Even in the sense of film, the original isn't going to disappear from all recorded media and memory; I think they can co-exist. It will be interesting to compare and contrast them, since our stories tend to reflect society at the time and place the story is told as much as when the story is set.

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19 hours ago, MadLove said:

I so agree with you all. How do you improve on a masterpiece? This is a remake that never should have been done. No offense to SS, but dude wtf?

I would rather see a younger, browner filmmaker try their hand on this then Speilberg.  I will welcome a version where the actress cast as Maria actually does the singing.  What was it with 60s musicals and casting one actress to be the face of a character and Marni Nixon to do the voice?

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11 minutes ago, Ohwell said:

Honestly, I didn't give a shit about Maria. 

It was Nardo.  😭

Just in case someone hasn't ever seen this movie, for some reason.

Spoiler

Bernardo está muerto! 😭😭😭

 

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Let me start by saying that West Side Story is my favorite musical and I think the 1961 film version is one of the few movie musicals that is just as good as the stage version. I have no problem with the desire remake the movie in order to cast actors that are closer to the race/ethnicity of the characters they play. That being said, based on what I have read and pictures that I have seen from the set, I have serious problems with this remake.

They are messing with the color scheme and I am not okay with that. The Jets are supposed to be in yellow and blue. The Sharks are supposed to be in red, pink and purple. Seeing Anita wearing a yellow dress in "America" messes with my head on a fundamental level.

Replacing Doc with a character played by Rita Moreno doesn't work for a whole host of reasons. I get that Rita Moreno is an amazing national treasure and they wanted to give her a part in this movie. The best way to do that is expand the role of Madam Lucia, the woman who owns the dress shop where Maria and Anita work. If you cut the character of Doc, you are removing one of the major ethnic groups of New York City. Doc is supposed to represent the Jews who started off a generation or two earlier with pushcarts and ended up with small stores. The Jets each represent another group of immigrants (Irish, Polish, Italian, and others).

Part of Tony's emotional journey is learning that the Puerto Ricans aren't this strange dehumanized foreign other, but instead are real people. If Tony and the other Jets grew up going to Doc's and seeing this new character there, the all of the hostility and  animosity towards the Sharks doesn't work and it didn't make sense.

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I saw the new trailer at the Oscars. I would be okay with a more muted color scheme. I am not okay with the fact that they have completely thrown out the iconic color scheme.

One of my friends and I came up with another way to include the multi-talented National Treasure that is Rita Moreno in this movie, without destroying the character of Doc. Create a new character that's a social worker and give that part to her. 

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One of the many issues I have with this film is the casting of Ansel Elgort.  In real life he may be a perfectly amiable person, but on screen he has the kind of resting face I just want to smack the hell out of.  

 

 

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The overhead shot of the two gangs' shadows intermingling is superb. Spielberg remains a master at visual storytelling.

Really interested to see what he brings to this, now that he's finally gotten the chance to make one of his childhood dream projects.

4 hours ago, Sarah 103 said:

I saw the new trailer at the Oscars. I would be okay with a more muted color scheme. I am not okay with the fact that they have completely thrown out the iconic color scheme.

I don't really see the point of having the new film look like the old film. The actress playing Anita looks fantastic in her new colours, for instance, and it immediately establishes the new version as distinctive.

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Pros: the camerawork, blocking, design etc. are clearly exquisite.

Cons:  from that teaser, I still don't understand why this exists.  Especially as a period piece, when the original from that period exists.  It needs a reason to tread the same ground, and so I pray it's in the result itself.  Looking spectacular isn't enough.   As was said above... how do you improve on a masterpiece?  But furthermore... even if you "tie" it, there's still the question of why?  Why do it?

And now, thanks to the Pandemic, this is coming out the same year as Into The Heights.  Who's plot of course bears zero resemblance to this, but you just KNOW there will be certain people trolling about too many "Mexican" movies (the people who think all Hispanics are Mexican, and for whom Puerto Rico is either part of Mexico, or it's own foreign country robbing money at gunpoint from us).  Actually.  It might be funny to see those people spew about this.  I take back any concern.

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2 hours ago, Kromm said:

Pros: the camerawork, blocking, design etc. are clearly exquisite.

Cons:  from that teaser, I still don't understand why this exists.  Especially as a period piece, when the original from that period exists.  It needs a reason to tread the same ground, and so I pray it's in the result itself.  Looking spectacular isn't enough.   As was said above... how do you improve on a masterpiece?  But furthermore... even if you "tie" it, there's still the question of why?  Why do it?

 

There are 2 reasons why I can see a remake--1. Natalie Wood was never a Latina. 2. Natalie Wood did not do her own singing, that was Marnie Nixon.  

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Here's why I think this exists. The times now demand a story about a completely polarized society. The gangs are merely stand-ins for the warfare that grips America.

The original movie was only about "why can't these gangs get along like the rest of us in our New Frontier society which gets closer to perfection with every passing day?" The new movie will be about a lot more. If anything, it has more reason to exist than the first one.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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The good news: It’s Romeo and Juliet on the streets of NY.

The bad news: It’s Romeo and Juliet on the streets of NY.

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On 4/29/2021 at 12:15 PM, Kromm said:

Who's plot of course bears zero resemblance to this, but you just KNOW there will be certain people trolling about too many "Mexican" movies (the people who think all Hispanics are Mexican, and for whom Puerto Rico is either part of Mexico, or it's own foreign country robbing money at gunpoint from us).  Actually.  It might be funny to see those people spew about this.  I take back any concern.

The fact that during the Puerto Rico hurricanes in 2018 or 2019 that people didn't realize that Puerto Rico is an American territory and therefore our responsibility was both sad and hilarious at the same time.

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I wasn't sure about this when I first heard about it, and I still might not be sure it's necessary, but damn if that trailer doesn't suck me in.  I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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53 minutes ago, SeanC said:

Should they have stopped adapting Pride and Prejudice after 1940?

Just my opinion, but I don't think Pride and Prejudice was a classic like West Side Story is. It didn't have Jerome Robbins' amazing choreography, it didn't have Leonard Bernstein's music, it was nothing like West Side Story. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, just because Steven Spielberg is directing it, doesn't mean it's an improvement.

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6 hours ago, GaT said:

Just my opinion, but I don't think Pride and Prejudice was a classic like West Side Story is. It didn't have Jerome Robbins' amazing choreography, it didn't have Leonard Bernstein's music, it was nothing like West Side Story. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, just because Steven Spielberg is directing it, doesn't mean it's an improvement.

This will also have Leonard Bernstein's music, most obviously, since they're both from the same source.

West Side Story has been staged innumerable times.  There's no reason that only one director should ever get a crack at making a film version of it, even if the first was a classic film (and especially in this case since there are obvious areas, like casting, where this one can make immediate improvements).

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1 hour ago, SeanC said:

West Side Story has been staged innumerable times.  There's no reason that only one director should ever get a crack at making a film version of it, even if the first was a classic film (and especially in this case since there are obvious areas, like casting, where this one can make immediate improvements).

I agree that the original film is a classic but this is a great opportunity to have an actual Puerto Rican actress play Maria. While Natalie Wood was a great actress, she was a casting misfire in the sense that she was both white and not an actual singer.

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The original is a great movie, but Natalie Wood is the low point for me.  I love those haunting whistle notes at the beginning. 

I saw a high school production when I was a kid--my cousin was in it.  I saw a Broadway revival about 15 years ago.  That was excellent. 

I don't know if this movie will have the musicality of the first one.  It looks so so.

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I'm watching Daily Pop on E!, & they have a story that immediately made me think of this movie. They are remaking "The Bodyguard" & apparently the internets are not feeling it. There are a lot of "why remake a classic?" type comments, & that's exactly how I feel about West Side Story. I get it, Maria could have been cast better, but I just don't think remaking the movie just to get a PC version should be done, no matter who is directing it.

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I have no problem with anyone doing a remake of anything, as long as it's done well. 

The original West Side Story was a real classic and wonderfully done. 

Assuming she can act, I think that Rachel Zegler is well cast.

However, I just don't see Ansel Elgort as Tony. Although Richard Beymer looked too old for Tony, he did convincingly portray someone who was open, friendly and somewhat naive. But Ansel Elgort always comes across as someone who's a bit of a smartass and even slightly smarmy. I see him more as Riff.

It will be very difficult to replace Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn.

Edited by tv echo
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On 9/16/2021 at 6:49 AM, Spartan Girl said:

I agree that the original film is a classic but this is a great opportunity to have an actual Puerto Rican actress play Maria. While Natalie Wood was a great actress, she was a casting misfire in the sense that she was both white and not an actual singer.

Yes... but the ironic thing is that the actress isn't even Puerto Rican, and she is half-Hispanic.  Her mom is Colombian and her dad is a white American of Polish descent.  If Spielberg felt moved to make this movie to have actors who are more culturally representative than the original version, surely he could have found a young actress who can sing who is actually Puerto Rican to play the lead Puerto Rican female character.  Colombia and Puerto Rico are very different.

I would agree it's better to have this actress who is half-Hispanic playing a Puerto Rican character than a white actress.  I guess it depends on what is "good enough".  On the TV show "Warrior" that aired on Cinemax that is based on the writings of Bruce Lee, the lead character who is a Chinese immigrant to late 1800s San Francisco, and he is played by an English actor who is half-Japanese and half-white.  I guess better him than someone like David Carradine in yellowface makeup, but still.

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