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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jake Lipson, Jan 19, 2018.
I believe he was speaking in the context of his own career. Without precedence for him.
I'm still not sure why this film requires 14 months of post-production work.
It doesn't. I'm sure they just want a December release, probably for awards visibility, and it's too late for this December.
14 months of talking about a film like this, that's already been talked about so much, isn't necessarily a good thing. It doesn't need hype.
Ariana DeBose (Anita) talked to Broadway.com about the new film:
Andréa Burns did a live interview with Broadway.com last week. She is a prolific Broadway actress currently appearing in the Broadway revival of The Rose Tattoo with Marissa Tomei, so that is the interview's primary topic. However, she also appears in the West Side Story remake in the newly-created role of Fausta, so of course they had to ask about that experience too. Her comments on the movie are brief but exciting, and it's clear she had a great time shooting it. Video below.
Not strictly related to the new film exactly, but...
News broke today that the new Broadway revival of West Side Story, which starts performances next month, will cut I Feel Pretty and the Somewhere ballet because the director wants it to run straight through, without an intermission.
I think this is ridiculous. I have no problem with a director interpreting the material in a new way, but cutting iconic songs out of an established work is not interpreting it in a new way. It's shaping the text to fit his vision instead of shaping his vision to fit the text.
These changes have been approved, so they will go forward, but I am much less interested in the revival now.
They are also using the movie version of America, which is the first time that that has ever been allowed in a stage production. This bothers me slightly less than cutting the other two altogether, because at least America will still be in there, but it's still not something I would do for the stage show.
Because the Broadway revival and the new film are separate projects, I don't think that what happens with one will affect the other. But I had to ask So I tweeted Rachel Zegler (the new film's Maria) to ask if she can confirm that she shot I Feel Pretty and Somewhere for the new movie. I also said it's okay if she can't answer that because I'm sure she is bound by an NDA, although I hope she can. I don't think that confirming the presence of songs that everybody knows and expects to be there would constitute a huge secret that an NDA would prohibit. At least I hope not.
And just in case Spielberg does cut something out of the movie and I get heat for this later, let me clarify my beliefs now. The movie is an adaptation of the source material. When you buy the movie rights to a play or musical, it's clear that you are going to make changes to suit the film medium, and they pay enough money for the rights that that's expected and allowed. Generally, onstage, you are not allowed to change text or remove songs or scenes. You can interpret them any way you want, but you're not allowed to mess with the text of a pre-existing work. The exception, of course, is if you consult with the authors of the show and they approve it.
The producers and director of the new West Side Story revival have obviously gotten the requisite permissions from either Sondheim or the estates of the other creators (or, more likely, both) to monkey around with the script. So I'm not suggesting that what they are doing is illegal. But I do think it's not a good idea to tamper with it regardless, to the degree that my interest in the revival has been almost erased. I have never seen a professional production of West Side Story and I was hoping the revival would tour and I would check that off my bucket list, but now, it's simply not what I want. So I'll keep waiting, I guess.
In the meantime, at least there is the movie.
Sondheim has never liked his lyrics for "I Feel Pretty," so it doesn't surprise me that is one of the songs to go. He was probably enthusiastic for its removal!
But it doesn't make me happy, and if I had plans to visit NYC during the time of this show's run, it would not make me enthusiastic to see it.
It sounds like the upcoming revival is moving in a more traditional direction now:
This would be one big thing I consider an improvement to the stage show. The original version of "America" just sucks - the movie made it exactly as it should have been in the first place. Now if they would also switch "Cool" and "Gee, Officer Krupke" to where they are in the movie, then we can call it good, at least for the most part. I don't agree with cutting "I Feel Pretty" or the "Somewhere" ballet, but I do think "I Feel Pretty" should be in the bridal shop scene. Also, add the character Ice.
I wonder if we will get an announcement trailer soon.
It wouldn't have to be anything much -- a couple of lines of Something's Coming and the tagline "Next year, something's coming, something good," just to get people excited and start to inform the wider public who might not know that the movie is going to be coming out. Like how the first trailer for Dreamgirls arrived a year before the movie did and just included a clip of Jennifer Holiday from the original cast album singing And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going. Who else remembers this?
In this case, for West Side Story, they actually have wrapped filming, so they could use a brief clip from their own version, which would be even cooler.
They don't need to at this point, but there is a musical coming to theaters next week where it would be a natural fit to attach that. The Cats trailer was on the front of The Lion King, so Disney could ask Universal to put West Side Story on Cats. Or they could play it on The Rise of Skywalker, which while it doesn't have anything really to do with West Side Story, is going to be huge and will therefore get a lot of eyes on the trailer. Both West Side Story and Star Wars are iconic films in cinema history. Does that count as enough of a connection between them to justify a teaser, Disney?
They don't need to do one this early, but I would love it if they did.
On a tangentially related note, for those interested, here is an interview with Jonalyn Saxer, who is in the ensemble of the new film as a member of the Jets. The interview is to promote her appearance as Karen Smith in the national tour of Mean Girls, and unfortunately the interviewer didn't think to sneak in a question about her experience on West Side Story, even though it is on a Broadway website and obviously readers would probably be interested in that. I would have mentioned it if I'd been doing the interview. But I still think it's an interesting interview with her about her process, nonetheless. I'll be seeing her in Mean Girls in April.
Here is 'Something's Coming" sung by Isaac Powell "Tony' from the new revival on Broadway.
FYI the story in this revival is now set in the present not 1957 .
Its just been announced that the opening of the revival has been postponed two weeks to February 20th due to a knee injury suffered by Mr. Powell.
60 minutes is doing a segment on the revival currently scheduled to air February 16th.
Damn, this movie isn't getting released until a year from now?
That is nonsensical. The Upper West Side is now one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the entire city. And most of the area where the musical takes place was razed to build Lincoln Center.
The characters and their dynamics are so specific to that time and place, it's hard to take them out of it. Change too much, and at some point, it's not West Side Story anymore, it's another contemporary adaptation of Romeo & Juliet.
All of which is to say that I'm glad the Spielberg film is a period piece.
I'm sure it could be done sooner, but a December release date is more hospitable to awards nominations than if they went earlier. It also gives Disney (via Fox) a big title for next December to compensate for the lack of Star Wars or Avatar -- which is not to say that I expect West Side Story to equal the numbers brought in by those mega-franchises, but still, it is a known quantity with an existing fan base both from the musical and from Spielberg, and that's better than having nothing in December.
Agreed with everything you said. I have never seen a professional production of the show, and I was hoping that the revival could be that if it was a big success and spawned a tour. Now, however, the more and more I hear about the direction of the revival, the less curious I am, and now my interest has essentially evaporated. I'll wait for the new movie.
I wonder if they're looking at the failure of Cats and experiencing any trepidation about the future performance of another film version of a classic musical.
The budget for this is reportedly $100 million, so it's going to have to make a hell of a lot of money to break even. I'm not sure why they needed so much money for a bunch of people dancing in the streets. At least in Cats, they could blame the high budget on the extensive CGI.
I hope not.
There are three musicals on the release calendar for next year, and I think at least two of them will do well.
Any other genre besides musicals can incur a single expensive flop without making people question whether the genre itself works. The complete failure of Green Lantern did not stop Ryan Reynolds from making Deadpool. Justice League bombing didn't stop Matt Reeves from rebooting Batman. I'm not sure why Hollywood treats musicals differently, as if one dud means that suddenly no one wants any others.
I think if Cats had come out 15 years ago and bombed like it has, it might have done more damage to the form. But there have been more successful musicals in the last few years than not. So the logical thing to think is, "People didn't want Cats," not "People didn't want a musical."
If the trailer doesn't actively horrify moviegoers, it will already be ahead of Cats.
Besides, this is a movie that Steven Spielberg has wanted to make for a long time.
We know that Disney would like his next project after this to be Indiana Jones 5, which they probably think is a billion dollar grosser waiting to happen.
I'm sure Disney was happy to spend $100 million on West Side Story in order to get Spielberg to make Indiana Jones 5.
Maybe Rita Moreno will become the first ever female to win the 'best supporting actress ' Oscar for her role in two versions of the same film.