The ‘West Side Story’ Remake Is Coming–But This Time Wants a Real Latino Cast

The next project in the trend of reboots and revivals is the musical classic West Side Story. The 1961 film skyrocketed the careers of many young starlets, including EGOT winner Rita Moreno, who portrayed Anita in the musical. The story that surrounds two lovers from opposite gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, in New York City, who dream of getting married (a modern day Romeo and Juliet).

The problem in the 60s was that the lack of minorities in the media was a major concern. The film starred Natalie Wood, a white actress portraying the Puerto Rican Maria along with mainly white actors portraying minorities, primarily Puerto Ricans on screen.

It seems though that after movements like #OscarsSoWhite this new version of West Side Story will take heed on social changes and current demographics and make sure latinos are well-represented as part of the cast.

Enter Steven Spielberg, who really needs no introduction. Spielberg has taken on the challenge of revamping the classic tale. The 71-year-old director has put out the casting calls for the new film. With inclusivity in mind, Spielberg has made sure that all casting notices include “Must be able to sing. Must be able to speak Spanish” according The Hollywood Reporter. If successfully cast, the film is set to film in 2019 with a 2020 release.

Since revivals and remakes are such a tricky territory, Spielberg knows to tread lightly so the project remains contingent on finding the right cast to fit the bill. Who knows? Maybe the project will launch the career of a new Rita Moreno.

7 thoughts on “The ‘West Side Story’ Remake Is Coming–But This Time Wants a Real Latino Cast”

  1. The original 1961 film version of West Side Story is my all time favorite movie, hands down! I never get tired of watching it over again, on TV, or, especially, on a great big, wide screen, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low, and sharing the whole experience with other people, whether I know them or not. The original 1961 film version of West Side Story is much more of a treat when viewed on a great big, wide movie theatre screen. Moreover, it always feels fresh and new to me, like I’m seeing it for the very first time.

    Older movies, in general, when they’ve been rebooted/remade, have turned out to be disasters. I don’t know about Name, Man of La Mancha, Hello Dolly!, Little Me, They’re Playing Our Song, or A Little Night Music, or Brigadoon, but I’m not sure that Guys & Dolls needs a remake. There was a remake of My Fair Lady (the film), at one time, but it clearly flopped in the movie theatres, because it lasted less than a month.

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  2. I have decided that I will absolutely not go to see Spielberg’s remake of the 1961 film version of West Side Story when it’s released into the movie theaters at around Christmastime of 2020.

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  3. West Side Story IS the greatest movie-musical of all time! This great golden oldie-but-keeper of a movie-musical is far too special, and way too much in a class by itself to justify a re-boot of it by anybody, including Steven Spielberg.

    Steven Spielberg has done a number of really good films, but I definitely wish that he had just left the film West Side Story alone. Who cares if the film version of West Side Story came out in the fall of 1961? It won ten well-deserved Academy Awards, including Best Picture that year. Messing with a classic is a bad idea.

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  4. Good points, Pierce! You’re absolutely right that the 1961 film version of “West Side Story really does not need to be re-booted at all. It’s totally unnecessary, and I don’t see it being really successful in the the box-office, either. Some films possibly could use a re-make or a re-boot, but West Side Story is definitely not one of them. Rita Moreno’s new role as Valentina, the female version of “Doc”, the Candy Store owner, seems totally inappropriate and wrong for her, given her looks and overall personality, to boot.

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  5. West Side Story is one of the

    West Side Story is one of the greatest movie musicals of all time. There is absolutely no reason for it to be remade when there are plenty of movie musicals that really need a remake: A Little Night Music, Guys and Dolls, Mame, Brigadoon, Man of La Mancha, Hello, Dolly! Why not remake on of those or make a film of a musical that's never been filmed: They're Playing Our Song, Little Me and a myriad of others!

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    • Making a movie out of a musical that has never ever been made into a movie would’ve been the best way for Steven Spielberg to go, instead of opting to remake a great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic movie-musical such as West Side Story, which is in far too special a class by itself to justify a reboot/remake of it by anybody, including Spielberg. Moreover, the original 1961 film version of West Side Story won ten well-deserved Academy Awards, including Best Picture when it came into the movie theatres in the fall of 1961. No reboot/remake of this great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic movie-musical will even begin to come close to topping the original 1961 film version of West Side Story, as far as I’m concerned.

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