The Jets and the Sharks are about to dance their way into the 21st century!

By Alexia Fernández
November 28, 2018 04:09 PM
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The Jets and the Sharks are about to dance their way into the 21st century!

Steven Spielberg hasn’t begun filming for his remake of West Side Story but the prolific director has already made some major casting choices for the upcoming film.

With a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (Angels in America), this latest take on the iconic 1957 Broadway musical, which was adapted into a movie in 1961, is set to bring the classic to a whole new generation.

Centering on two teenagers from opposing street gangs who fall in love, the story is based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Here is everything we know about the upcoming West Side Story remake.

Ansel Elgort as Tony

Ansel Elgort nabbed the role of Tony, the founder of the Jets, one of the street gangs in New York City. The Baby Driver actor is taking over the role of Tony from Larry Kert in the original stage musical and Richard Beymer who played Tony in the film.

Before being cast as Tony, Elgort had a bit of practice before landing the role.

The 24-year-old actor starred in a stage production of the musical in 2007 for the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center when he was just 13, according to Broadway.com.

Ansel Elgort in 2018, (right) Elgort in 2007 during a stage production of West Side Story
| Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty; Stagedoor Manor

The budding actor portrayed hot-tempered Action, one of the Jets, in the stage production.

Bringing Back a Legend

While Spielberg hasn’t cast Tony’s love interest Maria yet, he has brought back an iconic actress from the original film.

Rita Moreno, who portrayed Anita, has joined Spielberg’s adaptation as Valentina. The character is a re-conceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works.

The 1961 film adaptation launched Moreno’s career and won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” Moreno said in a statement. “And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! Then to work together with the brilliant playwright, Tony Kushner – what a glorious stew! I am tingling!”

Rita Moreno in the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story

Spielberg said they always hoped to have Moreno’s involvement in the film.

“From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production,” the director said in a statement. “Her Anita [from the 1961 film] is one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed, and a personal favorite of mine. We created an original role for her, and we feel beyond fortunate that Rita will bring her extraordinary gifts as an actress, as well as her deep understanding of West Side Story to this production as an executive producer.”

The 1961 film adaptation won 10 Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Moreno, best picture and best director.

Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story is set to begin filming in the summer of 2019.