West Side Story: Spielberg’s New Version Aims at Authentic Casting

Spielberg has begun the casting process for new screen adaptation of the Broadway musical West Side Story, which he plans to make after shooting a new Indiana Jones movie.

Spielberg plans to shoot what would be the fifth Indy installment in 2019 with a 2020 release date.

Casting notices for West Side Story sent out, as Spielberg and producers Kristie Macosko Krieger, who works with Spielberg, and Kevin McCollum, the Broadway producer whose resume includes the Tony Award-winning musicals Rent, In the Heights and Avenue Q, began searching for leads to play the two young lovers from opposing cultural sides in New York.

While some have been surprised that the director is tackling the 1961 musical as his next project (given that the indelible dance sequences in the version by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins are considered classics), the notices provide a clue as to what kind of movie Spielberg is looking to make.

Spielberg aims to cast the movie in an ethnically authentic manner, especially at a moment when Latino activists are asking for on-screen representation.