South O’ the Highway

Steven Spielberg Wraps Filming of ‘West Side Story’ in NYC

The musical drama opens December 18, 2020.

That’s a wrap! East Hampton’s Steven Spielberg has finished filming his latest movie, a new adaptation of the seminal musical West Side Story.

The film, based on the stage musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and 1961 film directed by Jerome Robbins, has been shooting at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, as well as various locations in New York City. Spielberg wrote a letter to the city and posted it on Instagram Wednesday:

“It’s 12:10AM, September 28, 2019, at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yards in the great city of New York, and we’ve just concluded filming our version of West Side Story. This has been a journey without precedence: a joyful, stunningly moving, endlessly surprising encounter with the story and score of one of the world’s greatest musicals. My brilliantly talented, fiercely committed, generous and apparently inexhaustible cast and crew of hundreds have given our film everything they’ve got, and already I can say that the film we’ll be releasing on December 18, 2020 owes everything to them, as does its immensely grateful director.

“And while I’m on the subject of gratitude: On every day of the past four years during which we’ve been preparing, casting, imagining West Side Story, I and my team, cast and crew have been walking in the footsteps of four giants: Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim. For the light they’ve shed on the world, for Stephen Sondheim’s insight, guidance and support, and for the openhearted support of the Bernstein, Laurents and Robbins estates, I owe them more than I can possibly express.

“We’ve filmed West Side Story all over New York, from Flatbush to Fort Tryon Park. The city lent us its beauty and its energy, and we drew deeply upon its grand, multicultural, multifaceted spirit. In addition, we spent three extraordinary weeks filming in Paterson, New Jersey. To the people of New York and Paterson, thanks not only for putting up with our trailers, tents, cranes and mid-street dance sequences; from the bottom of my heart, thanks for the warm welcomes we encountered everywhere, from pedestrians and policemen and neighborhoods and kids. We couldn’t have made our musical without you.”

West Side Story is a 1950s-set take on Romeo and Juliet centering on the star-crossed romance that ignites a war between the Puerto Rican gang the Sharks and white gang the Jets. It stars Rita Moreno (who starred in the first film as Anita), Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose and David Alvarez and opens December 18, 2020.

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