Ansel Elgort has been cast in the lead role of Tony for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the renowned Broadway musical ‘West Wide Story’.
The project was announced back in January when Spielberg put out an open casting call for the film.
With music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, ‘West Side Story’ was initially brought to the big screen by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins in 1961. The movie won 10 Oscars that year, including Best Picture.
Inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, the story is set in the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 1950s. It centres on the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs. Tony (played in the 1961 film by Richard Beymer), the co-founder of the Jets, falls in love with Maria (played originally by Natalie Wood), who is the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. Their affair has devastating consequences.
Spielberg is teaming up with famed screenwriter Tony Kushner, who he has previously worked with on ‘Munich’ and ‘Lincoln’, for the feature. Kushner has adapted the script from the original 1957 Broadway book written by Arthur Laurents.
Spielberg, Kevin McCollum and Kristie Macosko Krieger will produce the movie for 20th Century Fox.
Justin Peck, who won a Tony award for his work on ‘Carousel,’ was recently announced as the film’s choreographer, suggesting the remake will maintain its ties to Jerome Robbins’ ballet-inspired original choreography.
‘West Side Story’ producers have reportedly auditioned thousands of actors and dancers in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico in recent months.
Filming for the movie will begin in the summer of 2019.
Elgort is the first confirmed cast member for the film. He recently starred in ‘Baby Driver’, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. He is also renowned for teen tearjerker flick ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. He will next be seen in ‘The Goldfinch.’