Great love stories last over time and can be performed many times in the theater or on the big screen. Is what happens with West side story, the new version that opens tomorrow in theaters under the direction of Steven spielberg and that has already won the international critics who have described it as “glorious”.
The plot is based on the story of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, but adapted to New York City in 1957 where two bands: the Sharks of Puerto Rico and the Jets, are eternal rivals. The conflict jumps when María (Rachel Zegler), sister of the Puerto Rican gang boss Bernardo (David Álvarez), and Tony (Ansel Elgort), a former Jets member, fall in love. The two groups incite the leaders to fight, Tony does not want to, but is forced to do so when Bernardo (David Álvarez) assassinates his friend Riff (Mike Faist). In the brawl, Tony kills Bernardo and Chino, Maria’s other suitor, takes revenge.
27-year-old actor Ansel Elgort (Fabulous, Baby Driver and Divergent) plays Tony and says he chose to build his own version of the character. “As a kid, I loved West Side Story, but once I grew up, I started going to theater schools where they always told us that when building your character it was better not to see another actor do it, because you have to build it from yourself, from the beginning, from the script and with the director ”, reveals the youth star in an exclusive interview with La República through Zoom.
YOU CAN SEE: ‘Spiderman: no way home’: Tom Holland reveals what he likes best about previous Spider-Man
On the experience of working under the direction of such an iconic figure as Steven Spielberg says: “I think you grow when you work with someone like him. Steven Spielberg wants to make everyone better. He always called us ‘children’ and in a way he treated us as such. He was very dedicated, a great guide and an example. He pushed us in the best way and made us do the best he knew we could do, ”says Elgort.
“Once in a scene, it wasn’t going very well, and he approached me. Sometimes directors when you’re not doing well enough, they stick to the schedule, but Steven always makes sure you’re doing the best you can. So he came to me, touched my hands and said, ‘you’re not doing it’ and in the next scene I did what I had to do. A lot of directors don’t, but he knew exactly how to tell me and made me feel safe. And I thank you very much for that ”, emphasizes.
Tony-winning dancer David Álvarez (for starring in Billy Elliot the Musical) plays Bernardo, leader of the Sharks, and agrees with Elgort in compliments to Spielberg. “For me it was a dream come true and we are very grateful to have been there, and to have learned from these legends. It is a once in a lifetime experience and it will be in our hearts over time ”.
YOU CAN SEE: Colin Farrell’s The Batman: Penguin To Get His Own Series On HBO Max
Mike Faist, who takes on the character of Riff, reveals that The biggest challenge for him in working on West Side Story “was staying focused and sticking to the regimen they ask of you. The constant demand every day, for that amount of time, that was the biggest challenge, but also the one that has given us the greatest reward ”.