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West Side Story (2020)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jake Lipson, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I think that depends on the size of her role, which is not something we are privy to at the moment. Disney will inevitably submit her name, but they will also be submitting Ariana DeBose, who as Anita is almost surely going to have more screen time than Moreno's "Doc" equivilant.

    As is usually the case, will have a much better idea of the film's awards chances after it comes out.
     
  2. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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  3. Chelsearicky

    Chelsearicky Stunt Coordinator

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    This is a first....Rita Moreno actually discusses “WSS”
    without bad mouthing Natalie Wood! Maybe the interview ended before she could get there.
     
  4. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Huh?
     
  5. Chelsearicky

    Chelsearicky Stunt Coordinator

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    Rita has a long history of bashing Natalie.
     
  6. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I think some of what she actually said in the interview is more interesting than whether or not she trash talked a famous costar.
     
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  7. Message #587 of 595 Jan 23, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
    Garysb

    Garysb Producer

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    Article from this Sunday's New York Times Magazine about the Broadway stage revival currently in previews.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/magazine/west-side-story.html?action=click&module=Editors Picks&pgtype=Homepage

    Here is an excerpt with an interview with Stephen Sondheim:


    In early November, I visited Sondheim. He sat on a couch on the ground floor of his large Midtown townhouse, nursing a glass of white wine. Two elderly black poodles were sprawled nearby, one of them gently wheezing. When I asked him how he was, he responded that he wasn’t so great. He was experiencing a bout of gout. Sondheim is 89, and his walk that day was slow and pained, but he retains a boyishness — a willingness to amuse and be amused.

    At first, his answers to my questions were a little curt. How did “West Side Story” achieve its singular tone? “Oh, well, you can’t put it into words, really. That’s why it’s called tone!” How did it achieve such sublime yet accessible beauty? “Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There’s no accounting for why a piece has some kind of popular reach or takes a while to catch on. Art, as you know, has its own timetable.” Theorizing seemed to pain him, and he appeared relieved, and more responsive, when I began asking about specific lyrical choices.

    Sondheim has said before that he isn’t fond of some of the lines he wrote. He regretted the showy internal rhymes in “I Feel Pretty” — “it’s alarming how charming I feel” — which he later came to see as not believable for Maria, a new immigrant who still doesn’t speak fluent English. Same for Tony’s line, in “Tonight,” “Today the world was just an address.” “Excuse me?” Sondheim said, self-mockingly. “That’s a writer. That ain’t Tony!” Occasionally, he and Bernstein had disagreements. While Bernstein’s theatrical instincts were “marvelous,” his lyrical ones were less so. Bernstein’s “idea of poetic lyric writing is written poetry, or what I call purple prose.” Sondheim’s own “idea of poetic lyric writing was conversational.” It was when he stuck to his guns that he produced his best lines.

    It was a lesson he absorbed from the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, who was his mentor. He pointed to lyrics from Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”: “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day.” “When it’s set to music, that’s poetry,” he said. “When it’s on paper, it’s flat prose. That’s the difference. And that’s a crucial difference.” I asked him to tell me a line from “West Side Story” that satisfied him. He answered unhesitatingly: “I just met a girl named Maria.” This was lyrical restraint coupled with musical richness. He recalled playing it for Hammerstein and his wife, Dorothy, while he was at work on “West Side Story.” When he was finished, Dorothy got up off the couch and kissed him. Sondheim’s eyes became a little moist as he told me this. “And I knew why. That’s the kind of lyric that belongs in this show, for these characters. That’s poetry.”

    “West Side Story” was Sondheim’s first Broadway show. He has written many more and received the theater’s highest honors. But it became clear, as we talked, that he was self-critical, still scrutinizing certain choices almost as if he was working them over in his mind. The qualities of beauty and wholeness in “West Side Story” were perhaps not so ineffable as they seemed. They emerged from a series of concrete, pragmatic details: the effect of a note in this measure, the solidity of a line in that song, rethinking and questioning and testing them.

    I kept asking Sondheim, in different ways, to characterize why “West Side Story” has such a hold on us. Why does it work so well? Would it stand up to this radical restaging? A little wearied by my insistence, Sondheim finally said: “The thing that holds ‘West Side Story’ together is the story.” It’s the reason no revival, no matter how contemporary, can stray too far from the original. Sondheim was careful to make the distinction between story and plot, using the example of “Hamlet”: “Story is, this is about a man who can’t make up his mind. Plot is, this is a guy who thinks his uncle killed his father. And a good play combines the two.”

    So what is the story of “West Side Story”? Sondheim thought for a moment. “Let me see if I can put this succinctly,” he said, taking a sip of his wine. “It’s about a young man who grows up by falling in love, and it kills him.”

    I complimented him on his haiku-like formulation and asked if he had ever put it that way before.

    “No, no.”

    It’s beautiful, I told him.

    “O.K., good,” he said, clearing his throat a little peremptorily at my expression of sentiment. “If it’s clear, that’s great.”

    I mentioned that the idea of clarity had been a leitmotif of our conversation. I was learning something about holding yourself to standards of simplicity and limpidity.

    “You can learn about it, but it’s always beyond your reach. It’s: ‘I almost got it there. I almost got it there,’ ” he said, frowning.


    “Yeah, well, you’re hard on yourself, obviously.”

    “Yeah, aren’t you?” he answered sharply. Then, with a mirthful New York honk: “Hello? You know a writer who isn’t? Name one!”
     
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  8. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    We are now 300 days away from the December 18 release date of West Side Story.

    Or, if you're going to a Thursday evening "preview" show, which I probably will, 299 days. ;)
     
  9. SamT

    SamT Producer

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    It's all the heavy CG effects that take the time?!
     
  10. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Producer

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    They probably just want a December release date.
     
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  11. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    They're also probably hoping it's Oscar bait.
     
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  12. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Oh, there is no question that it is Oscar bait. Whether the Academy takes the bait or not is an open question, but Disney would be crazy not to put it out in December. The original film won ten Oscars. They're probably hoping to repeat a few of them (at least) with this version.
     
  13. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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  14. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The new promotional photos look gorgeous (click to enlarge):
    WestSideStory_2020_006.
    WestSideStory_2020_007.
    WestSideStory_2020_008.
    WestSideStory_2020_009.
    WestSideStory_2020_010.
    WestSideStory_2020_011.
    WestSideStory_2020_012.
     
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  15. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Rita Moreno discussed the return of her show, One Day at a Time, with Theater Mania, but of course they had to ask some West Side Story questions too.

    More at the link. https://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/interview-rita-moreno-one-day-west-side-story_90818.html
     

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