Not sure if you’ve heard but Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is getting really strong reviews. It’s a musical so I’m now so curious to read Sarah’s review of the film which we’ll be posting in the coming days since musicals aren’t her thing. A film like this, with this kind of budget, has to appeal to more than just the musical crowd. And, also, given its controversial past and problematic portrayal and stereotyping of Puerto Ricans, their perspective on this new take should be prioritised.
As for awards prospects, since this is Spielberg, and such a well-known IP, this project was always a heatscore and always considered a possibility for Oscar. Many experts have it on their list for multiple nominations, including Best Picture, and if it can also come through at the box office, it’s looking like a strong possibility.
But this is also a moment where we can watch the rise of a new star – Rachel Zegler plays Maria, and this is her first film. She was 16 years old when she sent in her tape, beating out 30,000 other people. So basically she went from having no acting experience to being directed by Steven Spielberg in a massively high profile project. Hollywood loves that kind of story – there’s Cinderella energy all over this (and she’ll be playing Snow White in a live action version for Disney) so this moment, right now, is the beginning of what could be a meteoric ascent.
Here’s Rachel making the rounds today in New York while promoting the film and I’m also including shots of her from a few nights ago at the premiere. Since it’s her first movie, it’s also her time with all the events that accompany the release of one – the red carpets, the interviews, all the appearances…
And she seems to be, at least to me, the one who’s carrying most of the media load. Fame is a complicated thing. The spotlight can be overwhelming. And it can also be fun, if you’re prepared, if you have a solid support system. It looks like she’s enjoying it. Hopefully she will continue to. That’s what I’m most looking forward to about West Side Story – to see Rachel Zegler at the starting point.