Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 'West Side Story' Movie

From the newcomer playing Maria to the release date.

West Side Story
Photo: 20th Century

It appears the entire world is living in a bout of nostalgia and reminiscing about decades gone by — and movie remakes are no exception. The latest reimagining is also a musical film adaptation (another trend hitting the big screen currently): the 2021 adaptation of West Side Story, directed by none other than Steven Spielberg, who has publicly expressed his love for the musical and its music. "West Side Story has been that one haunting temptation that I have finally given in to," Spielberg told Vanity Fair in 2020.

The film's release is even more highly anticipated after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the film's initial release date of December 2020. And with a star-studded cast, beloved soundtrack, captivating choreography, and seemingly stunning cinematography, it's no surprise that the world is waiting for its release with bated breath. So, while you (not so) patiently await this film's premiere, here is everything you need to know about West Side Story.

What is West Side Story about?

West Side Story originated as a Broadway musical in 1957 before being adapted into the well-known 1961 film. It follows a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story set in modern (ish) times with two rival New York City gangs duking it out in the streets of the Upper West Side. When Tony, a former member of the Jets, falls for Maria, the sister of a member of the opposing gang, the Sharks, the two star-crossed lovers meet in secret until one final battle between the two groups is planned. Trouble and tragedy ensues.

Where was West Side Story filmed?

The 2021 adaptation of West Side Story was filmed in 2019 in parts of New York and New Jersey.

Who is in West Side Story?

The new adaptation will star The Fault In Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort as Tony and Maria will be played by a previously unknown actress and YouTuber Rachel Zegler.

David Alvarez will play the part of Bernardo, and Hamilton star Ariana DeBose will play Anita, an iconic part that was originally played by Rita Moreno — who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress — in the 1961 film. Moreno will make a cameo in the 2021 adaptation as a new character named Valentino, a reimagining of the character Doc, who owns a store where Tony works.

Other familiar faces will include Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler as a member of the Jets, Broadway star Mike Faist as Riff, and Ana Isabelle as Rosalia.

When is the release date for West Side Story?

After the initial release date was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film will premiere on December 10, 2021.

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