Steven Spielberg speaks at the Producers Guild Awards breakfast and reveals that he has no plans to direct another musical after West Side Story.
Steven Spielberg says that he has no intention to direct another musical after West Side Story. The film, which is a new adaptation of the 1957 musical of the same name by Steven Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Arthur Laurents, also functions as a remake of the Best Picture-winning 1961 film adaptation. It follows a tale of forbidden love between two rival street gangs who battle for supremacy over New York City’s West side as gentrification begins to devour the neighborhood they’re fighting for. Spielberg’s West Side Story, which came out on December 10, 2021, stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, Mike Faist, David Alvarez, and Rita Moreno, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in the original.
West Side Story was a long-awaited foray into the musical genre from the popcorn movie maestro, who had long been wanting to direct one. However, the film suffered at the box office, most likely for one of two reasons. First, it came out in the pandemic era, which has been marked by a generally depressed box office, but especially for more adult-oriented dramas, with only the Lady Gaga-led House of Gucci making considerable headway. Second, it came out just 11 days before the massive Marvel megahit Spider-Man: No Way Home, which sucked out all the oxygen from any other wide releases around it.
Per Variety, Steven Spielberg spoke at yesterday’s nominee breakfast ahead of the Producer’s Guild Awards. As part of his speech, he revealed that he does not intend to direct any more musicals after West Side Story, though he didn’t go into details as to the reasoning behind that decision. Although he won’t be directing, he is still producing a film adaptation of the musical The Color Purple, which is based on the same Alice Walker novel as his 1985 film of the same name, which starred Whoopi Goldberg and was nominated for 11 Oscars.
It is unclear whether West Side Story‘s lack of commercial success is driving Steven Spielberg’s decision to make more musicals, or whether he merely scratched his itch to make a musical and no longer has the desire. He also has many other commitments on his schedule, both as a director and a producer. Included among the over a dozen projects he currently has a hand in, he is in post-production on his next film, the semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans, which comes out this year on Thanksgiving weekend.
Steven Spielberg has a keen sense for directing popular film genres, from thrillers to dramas to family adventures. For many of West Side Story‘s fans, it will be a disappointment that he is stepping away from directing another musical. Many were hoping that he would tackle a musical project that isn’t a remake and thus couldn’t be compared – favorably or otherwise – to an already iconic original, which is something that his new adaptation certainly dealt with throughout its run.
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