Some films are so well regarded that you can imagine them sealed behind layers of security, locked away lest some new producer or director take a fancy to remake them. But in this age of endless re-imaginings of titles long considered untouchable, anything is up for grabs. And when it’s Steven Spielberg doing the asking, even West Side Story may be taken down from the shelf.
Admittedly, according to Deadline’s report, it’s very early days for Spielberg and the 1961 Robert Wise musical, itself adapted from the Broadway show conceived by Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The Lincoln director has merely expressed an interest in the idea. But thanks to Spielberg’s mere nod towards the concept, 20th Century Fox is seriously considering it.
Based, of course, on Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story frames the tale around two rival New York gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks and the Jets. Their boundaries are tested when Jet Tony falls for Maria, sister of Sharks leader Bernado. Lots of fighting ensues, expressed chiefly via the medium of dance and song.
No writer is attached yet, so don’t count this one as happening just yet. And given how many projects Spielberg has on his development stove – including the planned Tintin sequel and the delayed Robopocalypse – who knows if he’ll even find the time?