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Ansel Elgort has been announced as Steven Spielberg's pick to star as Tony in his new film adaptation of West Side Story, featuring a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony victor Tony Kushner (Angels in America; Caroline, or Change). However, Spielberg liked what he saw when Elgort auditioned, and he will now star in the big screen adaptation of West Side Story.

So far, Elgort - who danced his way through Edgar Wright's delightful Baby Driver, which is close enough to making him 2018's Tommy Tune - is the only cast member publicly announced. Variety reports that Elgort will take on the role of Tony, former member of the Jets who falls in love with Maria, younger sister of rival gang leader Bernardo.

West Side Story is also largely based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and it features a star-crossed romance between Tony and a girl named Maria.

Spielberg has been trying to find time for the musical for years now, flip-flopping his focus between the remake script by Oscar-nominee Tony Kushner and Indiana Jones 5. It is, in fact, directly influenced by William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", although the musical takes several contextual liberties when translating the Capulet-Montague feud in order to tell a story about youth in NY in the 1950s.

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It's thought that the film will aim for a summer 2019 start date for principal photography.

The 1957 Broadway musical was written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. That adaptation was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including best picture and best director for Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins.

Yet, Elgort's onscreen presence definitely fits Tony's tragically idealistic journey.


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