“Baby Driver” Star Ansel Elgort Cast As Lead In “West Side Story” Remake

Ansel Elgort In Baby Driver / Image via TriStar Pictures & Sony Pictures Releasing

Ansel Elgort has been cast as the lead role in the remake of a classic movie musical.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Fault In Our Stars and Baby Driver star has been cast as Tony in the upcoming West Side Story remake.

The remake of the 1961 movie, which starred Richard Beymer, will be directed by Steven Spielberg. In addition, the film will be using the Tony Kushner adaption of the musical originally penned by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim with music by Leonard Bernstein.

The story follows a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance between two people tied to a terf war between a white gang and a Puerto Rican gang in 1950s New York City.

Spielberg has been looking for actors who could sing, dance, and act flawlessly for the film. He searched in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Puerto Rico, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The casting was taking so long that some cinephiles worried the film would be shelved. But with Elgort signed on for the project, the film is now expected to start production in the summer of 2019.

We know that Elgort can act thanks to his earlier work, but can he sing? Well, check out the music video for his 2017 song “Thief” to find out for yourself.

h/t: The Hollywood Reporter

2 thoughts on ““Baby Driver” Star Ansel Elgort Cast As Lead In “West Side Story” Remake”

  1. WHY mess with perfection!?

    WHY mess with perfection!? Lets remake GONE WITH THE WIND while we're at it. They should do a movie version of a great Broadway musical that hasn't been filmed already…..but since most musicals nowadays are unmelodic and forgettable they'd have to look hard

    Reply
    • “WHY mess with perfection?”

      That is a darned good question, kev! They shouldn’t, imho. There are good older Broadway musicals that have not been made into movies, which Spielberg would’ve been better off making into movies. Because most musicals don’t have the subject matter, substance, style, or pack the same sort of go-power as West Side Story, that’s obviously why Spielberg chose to reboot/remake that one. Despite advice and suggestions from friends and family, I plan on voting my pocketbook and boycotting Spielberg’s remake of the film West Side Story.

      I have seen pictures of the cast, and the backdrop scenes, and I don’t care for what I’ve seen thus far: the backdrop scenes look like much tonier parts of the city, rather than a rough and rundown and impoverished section of the city, plus the Jets, the Sharks, and their girls look more like suburban prep school kids dressed to the nines for partying all over town than two street gangs at war with each other.

      The Jets, the Sharks and their girls in the original 1961 film version of West Side Story look way rougher and tougher than the Jets, the Sharks and their girls in Spielberg’s remake of the film West Side Story.

      The same thing is true of Simon Oakland’s Lt. Schrank, William Bramley’s Officer Krupke, and even the late Ned Glass’s Doc, the Candy Store owner. Even Richard Beymer’s Tony looks more like an ex-gang member than Ansel Elgort, who’s been chosen for Tony in Spielberg’s remake. Moreover, Ansel Elgort doesn’t have the charm, believability, or the personality, much less the looks and the voice for Tony, either.

      Rachel Zegler’s voice is far too shrill, she tends to go flat on the higher notes, strain on many of the chest notes, and she seems to lack control over her voice. I listened to her singing “Shallow”, and it sounds like she was auditioning for a part in American Idol, despite many people’s gushing about how great her voice is.

      Moreover, I believe that Spielberg’s remake of the film West Side Story will be a good guys vs. bad guys movie; the White European Ethnic American Jets as the bad guys, and the newly-arrived Puerto Rican Sharks as the good guys. One of the things that made the original 1961 film version of West Side Story so great is the fact that in that film, there are no good guys or bad guys.

      Rita Moreno, who is to play Valentina, the female version of Doc, the Candy Store owner in Spielberg’s reboot/remake of the film West Side Story, looks positively awful in this film, as well.

      Now: I’m not against Spielberg per se, since he’s done many good movies, especially those that are based on Historical events, such as Schindler’s List, The Post, Munich, and Saving Private Ryan. Raiders of the Lost Ark was good, too, and so was E. T. Terrestrial. Jurassic Park was kind of overrated, however. That being said, Spielberg is better at doing movies that are based on historical events, and I personally think that he’s getting way above himself on his reboot/remake of the film West Side Story.

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