‘West Side Story’ Filming Wraps, Steven Spielberg Pens Goodbye Letter

     October 2, 2019


20th Century Fox is marking the end of filming on Steven Spielberg‘s remake of West Side Story with a heartfelt Twitter post complete with photos and a letter from the director. Spielberg’s West Side Story brings to life the musical from Leonard BernsteinStephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents inspired by William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet. Transported to the mid-century Upper West Side, West Side Story follows star-crossed lovers Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (newcomer Rachel Zegler) whose romance is threatened by the ongoing feud between the gangs at the heart of their respective communities.

Based on Spielberg’s goodbye letter which 20th Century Fox tweeted out alongside a handful of cast photos, we know filming officially wrapped on September 28. Photos from 20th Century Fox’s tweet include Spielberg and Rita Moreno hanging out (Moreno, who won an Oscar for her role as Anita in the 1961 feature film adaptation of the musical, returned for the remake playing a new character); Spielberg with Elgort, Zegler, Ariana DeBose (Anita), and David Alvarez (Bernardo); and a photo of all the actors playing members of the Jets gang.


Image via 20th Century Fox

As for the letter, Spielberg begins with,

“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 I can already say the film we’ll be releasing on December 18, 2020 owes everything to them, as does its immensely grateful director.”

He continues, writing,

“And while I’m on the subject of gratitude: One 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 our giants: Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins, 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 more than I can possibly express.”

You can take a closer look at Spielberg’s letter as well as the photos from filming below. West Side Story arrives in theaters on December 18, 2020.

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