First look at Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ with Ariana DeBose playing Anita

15 July 2019, 12:09

By Helena Asprou

Spielberg’s film adaptation of the great Bernstein musical is now in production – and here’s a first look at the cast on set, including official new shots of Ariana DeBose as Anita.

West Side Story fans have been treated to a first look at Ariana DeBose as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s new film adaptation of the best loved Bernstein musical.

20th Century Fox posted an image of the actress on Twitter, with the caption: ‘Excited to share the first look at Anita. See her light up the big screen in West Side Story on December 18, 2020.’

The Tony Award-nominated actress, singer and dancer first became popular with audiences in 2009 after participating as a contestant on American TV show, So You Think You Can Dance. She has also starred in several hit musicals, including Hairspray, Hamilton and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.

Now, the actress steps into the role of Anita, a role made famous by Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno in the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story.

Ariana DeBose as Anita
Ariana DeBose as Anita. Picture: 20th Century Fox

Nearly 60 years after starring in the original film, Moreno is rejoining the cast in a new role, Valentina, as well as serving as an executive producer.

Alongside the image of DeBose, a series of new images from the set give us a first glimpse of Spielberg’s first musical project, including shots of the Sharks and Jets in costume.

West Side Story
Picture: Shutterstock
Steven Spielberg on the set of West Side Story
Picture: Shutterstock
West Side Story
Picture: Shutterstock

West Side Story combines Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with the gang culture of 1950s New York, telling the tragic love story of Jets gang member Tony, who falls for Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks.

As young love blossoms and tensions rise between the two groups, disaster ensues.

Joining Ariana DeBose in the cast of West Side Story is Ansel Elgort, who will star as Tony, newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria, and Tony Award-winning Canadian actor David Alvarez as Bernardo.

West Side Story is being released on December 18, 2020.