West Side Story 2021 film
Photo: westsidestory.com/ 20th Century Studios
News and Entertainment

‘West Side Story’ Drops a Special Look Ahead of December Release

Jets and Sharks, get ready! Just when we thought we wouldn’t see any more footage from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake until its release this December, a new Special Look video dropped during last night’s Olympic games and set social media ablaze. While the bulk of the one-minute trailer was recycled footage from the official teaser back in April, it also included new clips of the dance and later, the rumble between the Jets and Sharks. Most importantly, though, we got to see more of the initial meeting between Maria (Rachel Zegler) and Tony (Ansel Elgort), when they stare at each other from opposite sides of the dance floor and share a tender moment beneath the auditorium bleachers—hopefully, hinting at their first kiss?

We even hear Zegler and Elgort speaking their characters’ dialogue for the first time: “You’re not Puerto Rican.” “Is that okay?” “You tell me,” with the last line already being gif’ed across social media.

In response, Zegler, who is also set to star in the live-action Snow White, took to Twitter to gush with her followers, tweeting, “HOLY CRAP Y’ALL MY VOICE IN A TRAILER FOR A MOVIE THAT I AM IN”.

Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original West Side Story (1961) and is one of three artists to have received an Academy, Emmy, GRAMMY, Tony (aka EGOT), and Peabody Awards, accompanied the trailer footage with her haunting rendition of “Somewhere”. She’s playing Valentina, a role that was written for her for the remake and though she initially refused to make an appearance, she will now be serving as an executive producer on the film and starring as a reimagined version of Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works. In her new documentary, Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,  she shared just how significant the role of Anita was for her.

“The ultimate role model became, to my surprise, Anita in West Side Story, a Hispanic girl who respected herself and had a sense of dignity about herself. I had never played a Hispanic girl who had those qualities, so Anita—very late in the day—literally became my role model,” she says.

But Moreno won’t be the only WSS alum returning. Harvey Evans and Bert Michaels, who portrayed Mouthpiece and Snowboy in the original, respectively, will make special cameo appearances.

“There were at least two Jets that I knew that were part of my gang that worked on the movie as extras,” Russ Tamblyn, who portrayed rival gang leader Riff,  said to Entertainment Weekly. “Or they had like one line here and another one had another line, so Spielberg included everybody that he could in the film.”

Featuring a screenplay by award-winning Tony Kushner, the film will also star Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Mike Faist (Riff), Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino), Ana Isabelle (Rosalia), Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), Brian d’Arcy James (Sergeant Krupke), Curtiss Cook (Abe), Ezra Menas (Anybodys), Ben Cook (Mouthpiece), Paloma Garcia-Lee (Graziella), and Maddie Ziegler (Velma).

West Side Story will be released in theaters on December 10th to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the release of the original 1961 film.