First look at Spielberg’s West Side Story as teaser trailer revealed in Oscars ceremony

26 April 2021, 12:04 | Updated: 26 April 2021, 13:23

West Side Story - Official Teaser

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Tonight, tonight… you can finally see the teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s film remake of West Side Story.

Last night’s 93rd Academy Awards ceremony dropped a musical bombshell – the first trailer for director Steven Spielberg’s film remake of Bernstein musical West Side Story.

Beautiful, striking colours and lighting dominate in the teaser clip, which is mostly without dialogue but features scenes of the warring gangs, the Sharks and Jets.

As Maria (Rachel Zegler) and Tony (Ansel Elgort) see each other for the first time across the ballroom, a delicate rendering of ‘Somewhere’ is heard.

The mystery voice is that of executive producer Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita in the original 1961 film. This time around Moreno, who presented Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, plays Valentina, a gender-swapped role.

West Side Story is scheduled for UK and US release on 10 December, exactly 60 years after the original film came out.

Read more: West Side Story remake – 2021 UK release date, cast and soundtrack revealed >

Rachel Zegler (Maria) stars in Spielberg remake of West Side Story
Rachel Zegler (Maria) stars in Spielberg remake of West Side Story. Picture: Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Studios

Originally a 1957 Broadway musical, West Side Story is expected to bear more resemblance to the stage show in Spielberg’s remake.

All the original songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, including the timeless ‘Tonight’, ‘Maria’ and ‘America’, will feature, but with a new screenplay by the director.

Set in Puerto Rico, this adaptation has been praised for properly representing America’s Hispanic community. When auditions opened in 2018, the casting call confirmed the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino and the Sharks would all be played by Latinx actors.

Read more: New photos released of ‘West Side Story’ movie directed by Steven Spielberg >

Oscar-winner Rita Moreno stars as Valentina in musical remake
Oscar-winner Rita Moreno stars as Valentina in musical remake. Picture: Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Studios

Spielberg said: “I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community.

“I am in awe of the sheer force of the talent of these young performers, and I believe they’ll bring a new and electrifying energy to a magnificent musical that’s more relevant than ever.”

The director also praised Zegler, the relative newcomer and 19-year-old singer playing Maria. “For a beginner, Rachel, oh my God…” Spielberg says in a speech to the cast that was leaked on Twitter.

“You have an old soul… the greatest Maria I have ever witnessed,” he told Zegler.

The score for West Side Story (2021) will be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, who is music director of the LA Philharmonic and Paris Opera.

Since the teaser trailer was revealed on Sunday 25 April at the Oscars, Twitter has been praising the beautiful shots in anticipation of the film’s eventual cinema release, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The shots in the West Side Story trailer are so pretty,” one journalist wrote.

West Side Story will be released on 10 December 2021 in the UK and US.