Jake Lipson

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whites should accept a black George Washington simply because non-musical rap is in vogue?
Whites can choose to accept a black George Washington, or not. The show is the show. If you don't want to see it, no one is forcing you to do so.

If they were made today, The King and I and Flower Drum Song would also be expected to be cast in a diverse way because those shows are written specifically to deal with issues of race.

how is she more authentic then Puerto Rican Rita Moreno as Anita in the original?
Rita Moreno was cast correctly in the original. No one here is taking any issue with her casting or her work. But there are other people in the original whose ethnicity did not match those of their characters, which gives the remake a solid starting point to be different than the original. Moreno also clearly approves of the remake, seeing as she is in it and is also a hands-on executive producer who gave Spielberg and Kushner script notes which they used.

You know what I’m done with this thread - until Spielberg’s film walks away 10 Oscars including Best Picture and reviewed as a landmark then I’ll go see it.
No one is forcing you to see it. But judging it before anything from it has come out is a little harsh, don't you think? Yes, it could suck, and if it does I'll say so. But it could also be good. As we've already discussed in this thread, Spielberg knows the original film is a classic, and he can basically do whatever he wants. I don't think he would have wasted his time making this if he didn't have a new take that he thought was worthwhile. I think he has earned the benefit of the doubt.

I love the original film, and I fully expect to continue watching it after Spielberg's version is released. But I don't see why some people believe there isn't room for another version to stand alongside it on the shelf. No one complains when it gets revived onstage.
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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What are you talking about? She was born and raised in NorthCarolina not Puerto Rico and Self identifies as black . You are all going by Natalie Wood and George Chakiris appearance and name. Im just pointing out the double standard.
Wood and Chakiris didn't have Puerto Rican ancestry. DeBose does. The fact that she doesn't "look" Latino to you doesn't change that fact. The Spanish Empire began importing slaves from Africa in 1511 and slavery wasn't abolished in Puerto Rico until 1873. Roughly 17 percent of the island's current population has some African ancestry.

and do you feel the same way about Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and R&H‘S Flower Drum Song and The King & I because that is how they wrote it?
Blacks and Asians apparently do not with those examples yet whites should accept a black George Washington simply because non-musical rap is in vogue?
The short answer is that American heritage rightfully belongs to all Americans. And while the story being told in Hamilton is predominantly centered around dead white men, many of whom owned slaves, it utilizes a cultural language that borrows from contributions made by many Americans over decades, and the diversity of those influences is reflected in the diversity of the cast.

The longer answer is that casting white actors in non-white roles and casting actors of color in white roles is comparing apples to oranges because:
  1. There is a long, tawdry history of white Americans portraying non-white characters in demeaning and derogatory ways. There isn't the same history of Americans of color portraying white characters in demeaning and derogatory ways.
  2. White actors have long had far more opportunities than actors of color. When a white actor is cast in a role that was specifically intended for a person of a specific ethnicity, it means that all of the actors who happen to be of that specific ethnicity miss out on a role when roles -- certainly until recently -- have been much fewer and further between.
If actors of color had always had the same opportunities as white actors, it wouldn't be nearly the controversy that it is today.

And I take issue with the term "non-musical rap", implying that the parts of the show that aren't traditional musical theater aren't musical. The rapping in Hamilton is musical in the same way that Shakespeare's use of iambic pentameter is musical: it has rhythm and flow and tempo.
 

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I really didn’t want to wade into this but the comment about only young people in New York not wearing masks while only older people are doing the right thing by wearing them... that’s just not accurate. I’ve seen the opposite in my corner of NYC, where it was the younger people taking caution and older people refusing to take it seriously or show respect to those who did. I’ve actually seen people of all ages being smart, and people of all ages being stupid. So maybe it’s not productive to say that only a certain age group is showing caution and care because my experience is that stupidity isn’t confined to a particular demographic. That said, I wish everyone would take proper care because I like the world better when it’s a healthier place.
 

Jake Lipson

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I like the world better when it’s a healthier place.
I think that is something we can all agree on. This whole thing has sucked for so many reasons, and I look forward to the eventual day when we have a widespread vaccine it is finally over.
 

Mike Frezon

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This issue of race as it pertains to film casting is one that has been discussed many times over on this forum.

I fall on the side of not being able to justify the arguments that it's a positive thing to cast actors of other races in certain roles in some instances...while it is simultaneously argued to be a negative thing to cast actors of other races in certain roles in different circumstances. To endorse both of those positions seems arbitrary to me.

And I will add that any continued discussion of racial politics will need to be done with extreme sensitivity given the state of racial politics in the US at this time. Let's be sure to confine that discussion to film casting on this forum (or face potential disciplinary issues).
 
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Jake Lipson

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We've actually had this discussion about diverse casting before multiple times in this very thread as it relates to this film. Most of those old posts are still there if anyone wants to check them out. I think we have looped back into this discussion again in part because there hasn't been any other news about the film lately, and it has been a very long time since I first started this thread all the way back on January 19, 2018. I feel like I've shared my beliefs in this regard already, and I have nothing more to say on this issue at this time.

As we get closer to the release of the film, hopefully there will be more to discuss about what Spielberg is actually doing with his take on the film, rather than a theoretical discussion such as what we are having now. Granted, I really want the film to be pushed to 2021, so essentially I'm asking for another year and a half to pass before we can see it in the hope that there is a vaccine by then. But the truth is that the cast did what they did. We can sit here all day debating whether someone is right for the part or not, but the film has already finished shooting. So it ultimately matters what everyone did with their role, and I look forward to being able to discuss what the film actually is when we are able to see it instead of regurgitating this circular discussion of whether a remake is needed or not. It's coming. It's wrapped. It exists. So, no one is forcing anyone to see it or to think a particular way about it, but we've all got to accept that it is going to come out. It may come out in December. It may not. But it exists. Whether you think it needs to or not, and whether it is good or not, it exists.

Obviously, comparisons to the original are going to be inevitable. But hopefully it can also be judged on its own merits, whenever it does come out.
 
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cinemiracle

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Whatever the motivation, in my mind this is akin to remaking another classic Robert Wise film, The Sound of Music.

Just. NO.
Let us not forget the disastrous remake of SOUTH PACIFIC (for TV). Truly the worst remake of a classic film in history.Makes you want to vomit when watching it. Has any other reader ever seen it? Saw both SOUTH PACIFIC and SOUND OF MUSIC -both in 70mm where I worked at least a 100 times each. WEST SIDE STORY was indeed a classic but flawed film. A remake may not be such a bad thing. Each film should be judged as a separate entity. I can't wait to see it but will wait for a bluray release as I loath watching digital films in cinemas and have not done so for a few years.
 

Jake Lipson

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As I mentioned before, there is a chapter dedicated to the remake inside the making-of book for the original film that is coming out next week. I look forward to getting that and sharing new information from it, because that will give us something new and tangible about the film to discuss. It's been kind of hard to do so far because most of what they've done has been under wraps so far.
 

Matt Hough

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Let us not forget the disastrous remake of SOUTH PACIFIC (for TV). Truly the worst remake of a classic film in history.Makes you want to vomit when watching it. Has any other reader ever seen it?
Yes, and it is indeed terrible. Almost everyone is miscast, and it is a long slog to endure.
 

Jake Lipson

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Amazon already shipped my order of the West Side Story making-of book book I mentioned before, which was previously scheduled to arrive on Thursday. It will now arrive on its release date tomorrow.

Although this is primarily about the making of the 1961 film, it also has a chapter about the new one. I'll report back on it when I get it.

It also occurred to me that if the new version ends up being delayed to 2021, it could sync with the 60th anniversary of the original.
 
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cinemiracle

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This issue of race as it pertains to film casting is one that has been discussed many times over on this forum.

I fall on the side of not being able to justify the arguments that it's a positive thing to cast actors of other races in certain roles in some instances...while it is simultaneously argued to be a negative thing to cast actors of other races in certain roles in different circumstances. To endorse both of those positions seems arbitrary to me.

And I will add that any continued discussion of racial politics will need to be done with extreme sensitivity given the state of racial politics in the US at this time. Let's be sure to confine that discussion to film casting on this forum (or face potential disciplinary issues).
Does this mean that future films about Cleopatra and Jesus , that they cannot be cast by a white person? Almost all of us are of mixed races and every human being has African genes in their bodies. I am all for casting anyone suitable for a role regardless of their race suitability for the role. Nobody cared in the old days or even noticed.
 

Jake Lipson

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On another note, the book I mentioned earlier just arrived from Amazon.

The main purpose of this book is to be a behind-the-scenes book for the 1961 film, but it also has a chapter on the new version. While I look forward to reading about the 1961 film, I will confess I went straight to the back of the book to read the chapter on the remake first.

Unfortunately, it doesn't say anything that we didn't already know. It covers the announcement of the film, says who is in it and that Spielberg is directing it. The author spends some time discussing the arguments for and against a remake, most of which were covered by us in the last 34 pages of this thread. He talks about Spielberg and Kuschner's trip to Puerto Rico to discuss the film with people at the university there, and confirms again that it will be a period piece. It also includes the previously released cast photo. But for those of us who have already been following this remake with interest, there's no new information. No one involved in the new version participated in interviews for the book about it.

This is not meant to be a judgment on the totality of the book overall, which I haven't read yet. It is extensively illustrated and there are lots of citations in the back, so it seems like it will probably include a great deal of information about the original, which is, of course, the point. Because I also love the original, I suspect I will probably find it a valuable purchase in regards to that film. But if you want new information about the remake, this is not the place to get it.
 
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Garysb

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I think that whether this film or any other high profile film gets a release in 2020 will depend on what happens when theaters open later this month and in August. If enough people are comfortable coming back to indoor movie theaters, the movies , including, "West Side Story", will keep their current release dates. If the drop in attendance is too great compared to earlier years the studios will decide whether to further postpone film releases or look for alternative revenue sources whether PPV or exclusive deals with Apple +, Netflix, Disney+ etc. There is a lot of money tied up in the movies and they can't keep getting postponed forever.
 

Jake Lipson

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I think this one, specifically, can get postponed to 2021 with relative ease. Its target audience is older, and they're the ones who are more susceptible to the virus, so this one would leave more money on the table if released in 2020 than younger-skewing tentpoles. I'm sure Spielberg brought it in at a reasonable budget, too, so they don't stand to lose much by keeping it on the shelf for a while longer. We'll see what happens, of course.

Also, they haven't started the marketing campaign yet at all, so unlike Tenet or Mulan which have already been promoted aggressively, most average people who don't follow movie news on the internet might not even know it's coming yet. So it would be very easy to delay without losing a cent on the marketing at this point.
 
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Garysb

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Here is some silent clips of the Original Broadway Cast dubbed with the Original Broadway Cast album.

 
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