Today, let’s talk about the American movie “West Side Story”, which was adapted from the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name.
“West Side Story” tells the story of white immigrants Jet and Puertorriquenos Sharks fighting for territory on the streets of New York. Tony, who belongs to Jet, and Maria, who belongs to Sharks, fall in love and stage a tragic love story similar to Romeo and Juliet.
In 1996, Disney tried to adapt a film remake of “West Side Story”, which was planned to be directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, but the plan ultimately failed.
Steven Spielberg later became the director of the film, and “West Side Story” was his first musical.
He had previously planned to develop a semi-autobiographical musical film called “Reel to Reel” in the early 1980s, but the project was eventually abandoned.
Spielberg said: “I’m always challenged with what music is right for me. I’ll never forget my childhood. I was 10 when I first listened to ‘West Side Story’ and it never Gone. I’ve been able to fulfill that dream and fulfill my promise to myself: You have to make West Side Story.”
So he decided to take over the filming of an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical.
Spielberg became the subject of a fancy film that was divided among like-minded people.
This kind of disagreement has been with human history for a long time. In 1957, this division occurred between and within the Sharks, Jet, and more than 60 years later, it still exists, even more divided.
As long as it has something to do with race, religion, region, etc., it will cause a lot of trouble.
“West Side Story” was originally planned to be released on December 18, 2020, but due to the epidemic, it has been postponed until December 10, 2021.
After the film was released, it was a big hit and was well received by the academics. It was nominated for seven Oscars this year, including Best Picture and Best Director.
“West Side Story” became the first remake since “Mutiny on the Bounty” to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
It was also the second Oscar nomination for the musical after “West Side Story” (1961).
The old version of “West Side Story” remains one of the most acclaimed film musicals of all time, winning 10 Oscars at the 34th Academy Awards in 1962 – including a golden statue of Anita played by Rita Moreno.
The film grossed $38.11 million in North America and $72.52 million worldwide, making the acclaimed $100 million a disaster at the box office.
The song order in the film follows the original song order of the stage musical, with two exceptions.
“Gee, Officer Krupke” was moved earlier, and “Cool” was sung by Tony to Riff, not Riff to Jet.
Writer Tony Kushner said the film would be more in line with Arthur Laurents’ original book than the 1961 film adaptation.
Steven Spielberg insisted that all Latino characters be played by real Latino actors.
To avoid the brown-face problem in the original film, Steven Spielberg specifically invited Latino actors to audition for Sharks.
He has cast Hispanic actors across multiple races, such as Rachel Zegler Colombian, Ariana DeBose, African-Latino.
Ariana even worried that she was too dark for the role, but Spielberg became adamant that she was perfect.
This movie was also dedicated to his father Arnold Spielberg by Steven Spielberg.
Arnold Spielberg, an electrical engineer and World War II veteran, died of natural causes in 2020 at the age of 103.
The film is also Rachel Zegle’s feature film debut.
She got the role because she impressed Spielberg with her YouTube performance.
When she was 16, she played Maria on stage, which Pierberg thought was the best Maria he had ever seen.
Rachel Zegler had no experience in any movie roles, but news of the lead actress in “West Side Story” got her further credits for “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” important role in.
To be honest, I couldn’t appreciate the beauty of such a Snow White…
Riff, the leader of the Airplane Gang, is Mike Faist.
Mike Faist initially auditioned for Tony, who was later asked to read Riff’s lines and eventually landed the role of Riff. The same thing happened in the 1961 movie.
Mike Faist started out slender, but when he landed the role of Riff, he began researching what a gang member looked like in the 1950s. So he lost 20 pounds and became thinner and even malnourished.
Spielberg later had to step in and get him to stop losing weight so as not to jeopardize his health.
Everyone is no stranger to Romeo and Juliet-style tragic stories. Under the condition that the overall plot remains unchanged, how to shoot well depends on the actors’ interpretations.
The more people who have never been in love, the more they will feel that love is more important than life.
Therefore, if the actor wants to show a feeling of innocence and youthfulness, only when the level of rationality is low to a very low level will the audience feel that this kind of story of running away for love is feasible.
Once the protagonist feels a little bit mature and greasy, it ruins the overall effect.
So Spielberg chose Rachel Zegler, who has no acting experience, as the heroine, and the strangeness has become her advantage, while Ansel Elgort as the hero is not like an infatuated kind, and sometimes feels a little greasy.
The film expands on the original story, explaining the reasons for the two gangs to fight, the white immigrants are motivated by job opportunities and xenophobia, and Puertorriquenos is full of the tension and unease of an outsider.
Their vision can only see their immediate interests, so conflicts arise for existing interests.
Coupled with the corruption of the police, the reduction of job opportunities, and the unstable immigration status, multiple contradictions gathered at one time and contributed to the conflict.
More than 60 years later, these problems are still unresolved, and the marginalized people at the bottom are still struggling to survive. In the film, Anita was almost raped and the LGBT community was excluded. These are still disasters that the poor need to face.
“West Side Story” recreates songs and dances with rich literary drama, and it remakes classics into classics.