Steven Spielberg still seems keen to make a new film version of West Side Story. Appearing alongside Oprah Winfrey on ABC News this week to promote The Hundred-Foot Journey, which the duo co-produced, Spielberg was asked about the reports he’s developing a new version of Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein‘s show.
Here’s an exact quote of how he confirmed his interest, and you can see the full video at the foot of this post.
Well you know something, West Side Story is one of my favourite Broadway musicals and one of the greatest pieces of musical literature, my goodness, one of the greatest scores and some of the greatest lyrics ever written for a musical so just let me put it this way: it’s on my mind.
This notion inspires a lot of the typical remake-reboot talking points, including whether it’s better to re-do a classic or a flop, or if a re-adaptation of source material constitutes a remake. I’m sure the internet will set about stoking those flames, and with some vigor if the project actually goes ahead.
And while you’re at it, debaters, please do arrive at some sort of consensus on whether or not Spielberg’s desire to re-film West Side Story is an implied diss on the Robert Wise version.
One of Spielberg’s next projects will be, in fact, another re-adaptation, taking Roald Dahl‘s The BFG and translating it into live action. A good deal has changed from the book and animated movie however, with Sophie now in a tony boarding school, not an orphanage; a new best friend for Sophie; a pair of scientist characters who disagree over the existence of giants, and who, I’d personally like to think, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would be absolutely perfect for.
The Queen is still in, though, and it’d be great to see Olivia Colman in the role, maybe even Helen Mirren again.
The BFG has a July 2016 release date, and its production will come either right before or right after Spielberg’s Untitled James Donovan Cold War thriller with Tom Hanks and a Coen Bros. screenplay. He has plenty of other maybe-projects too, so I wouldn’t get too excited – or apprehensive – about West Side Story just yet.