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Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg’s much-awaited movie adaptation of the musical West Side Story is prepared for theatrical launch on December 10 with early reactions being fairly sturdy, constructive, and glowing, indicating super Oscar buzz. This is the second film adaptation of the 1957 stage musical, the first one was tailored into a movie 60 years in the past. But, Spielberg says, he wasn’t attempting to copy the previous film or musical; he was looking for a steadiness in modern storytelling however also talked about he had a deep respect for the unique work.

“Well, I wasn’t trying to, the previous one. Although I have deep respect for the previous one. I love it very, very much,” says Spielberg to Bollywood Hungama in a media interplay when requested about whether or not he was looking for steadiness and pay homage at the similar time. ” I’m of an age where I saw when I was living in Arizona, and I was at that was a young teenager, when I saw when the movie came out. So I have tremendous respect for it. But I also felt that the audience today is very demanding of authenticity. And of a kind of demand, which I certainly had for diversity, a demand that this needed to be an authentic representation of the new Puerto Rican experience. And I wasn’t trying to make up for anything that history has done with the play or the film, because these were all different times and people were certainly different, They are a lot more sensitive today than there ever had been before, throughout Hollywood history.”

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He provides, “But I just felt that in the effort to make this a street musical and not a theatrical musical because the movie The West Side Story I love so much the Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins one is a hybrid between cinema and theater. But I wanted this just to be cinema, and therefore it brought into it, made it a prerequisite that everything has to be more realistic. The characters have to be deeper. They have to be more into relational interpersonal, and the rage and the hate have to be much more pronounced and not safe at all. And so everything just sorts of started building upon itself. And I have to give credit where credit’s due totally, Tony Kosher did an exceptional job reimagining his script based on the original musical from ’57.”

Going again to his recollections of being 10 years outdated and listening to the West Side Story album for the first time, Spielberg reminisced, “I was 10 years old when I heard the record for the first time. So the first time I ever heard the record. That’s how old I was. And so what were the things that appealed to me. The melodies. I didn’t understand all the words. But I understood the melody. And I understood the words on certain songs like one hand, one heart, I understood the words of Officer Krupke. That was the first song I memorized because a 10-year-old kid, I memorized the most upbeat song in the entire musical. And I had that memorized within, I think, two hours, and I sang it at dinner that night. My parents hadn’t even listened to the album yet. I had heard it first. And, you know, absconded with it. And but as I got older, and so that was the thing that first attracted me was the actual and the passion of the orchestra. Just listening to that New York orchestra play. Those huge orchestral themes that almost sounded like, in one sense with America, a celebration. And then, on the other hand, a funeral, a memorial, and the music went from joy to deep tragic sorrow. And it really affected me as a kid emotionally.”

He additional provides, “Eventually, I got a chance to read the poem. And I read the play probably when I was about, I don’t know 15 years old, I read the play for the first time French’s Remember though they publish it, publish the plays. And I got a chance to read Arthur Lawrence great words. And so this and then when I started having kids, and of course, I love the ’61 movie by Robert Wise. And then when I started having children, I have all these home movies and home videos and my kids growing up, and we’re all running around the house on weekends, doing all the numbers in West Side Story. I’ve got all my kids playing Bernardo Maria. They’re playing a Nita they’re playing. I mean, they’re playing Tony. And I’ve got all my kids lip-synching to the original Broadway score. So I don’t only have my parents who gifted me with that record, but I tried to give that record to my kids, and they memorize it. And so in a sense, it was a foregone conclusion that someday 60-64 years after the original play. Hopefully, I would have a chance to reimagine West Side Story with this great team of collaborators.”

Directed by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tony Kushner, West Side Story tells the basic story of fierce rivalries and younger love in 1957 New York City, releasing in India on tenth December. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony), Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Mike Faist (Riff), Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke), Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino), with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the nook retailer during which Tony works) and introducing Rachel Zegler (María). Moreno—one of solely three artists to be honored with Academy, Emmy, GRAMMY, Tony, and Peabody Awards—also serves as one of the movie’s government producers.

ALSO READ: “I was 10 years old when I first listened to the West Side Story album” – says Steven Spielberg on why he selected to make this musical starring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler

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