With production on Steven Spielberg’s first ever fully fledged musical—a remake of West Side Story—set to get underway this summer, the iconic filmmaker is casting up. Ansel Elgort was the first set in the lead role of Tony, while Rachel Zegler subsequently landed the role of Maria. Now Deadline reports that House of Cards and The Strain veteran Corey Stoll will be playing Lieutenant Schrank, while Spotlight actor and Broadway veteran Brian D’Arcy James will fill the role of Officer Krupke.
This is excellent casting. Schrank and Krupke are the law enforcement officials always trying to break up the fighting between the film’s two rival gangs, the white American gang the Jets and the Puerto Rican gang the Sharks. All signs point to Spielberg maintaining the 1950s setting and racial politics of the original story and thus Robert Wise’s Oscar-winning 1961 film, but surely with someone like Tony Kushner (Lincoln) writing the screenplay, there will be strong parallels to the world we live in today.
Spielberg has filled out the Sharks side of the cast with actors of Puerto Rican and Latino descent, including Rita Moreno—who won an Oscar for playing Anita in the original film—as Valentina, a new version of the shop owner Doc from the original movie.
Spielberg has long made his desire to make a musical known, and indeed he flirted with the subject in the opening sequence for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I’m extremely curious to see how he fares, and also eager to see what his longtime cinematographer Janusz Kaminski comes up with for the film’s aesthetic.
West Side Story doesn’t yet have a release date but is expected to hit theaters sometime next year. 20th Century Fox is producing the film and production is due to begin this summer.