By Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Studios.

Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” may be a few months away from release, but today the anticipation has heightened with the first look images of the musical. Vanity Fair released the glamorous images today, featuring the film’s two leads Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, among others.

Included in Vanity Fair’s piece is the following quote from Steven Spielberg on the importance of telling this story in 2020:

“This story is not only a product of its time, but that time has returned, and it’s returned with a kind of social fury. I really wanted to tell that Puerto Rican, Nuyorican experience of basically the migration to this country and the struggle to make a living, and to have children, and to battle against the obstacles of xenophobia and racial prejudice.”

The 1961 version of “West Side Story” was an enormous Oscar success, winning 10 of its 11 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Best Supporting Actress winner Rita Moreno returns for Spielberg’s version of the musical.

The story explores the romance between two members of opposing enemy gangs, with the 1957 musical strongly inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet in its story and its themes. Joining Elgort, Zegler, and Moreno as part of the film’s ensemble include Talia Ryder, Corey Stoll, Maddie Ziegler, Brian d’Arcy James, Kyle Allen, Jamie Harris, and Ariana DeBose.

Long-time Spielberg collaborator Tony Kusher pens the script, having previously worked with the director on both “Lincoln” and “Munich.” Both screenplays earnt Best Adapted Screenplay nominations for their respective years, and given the success of the 1961 “West Side Story,” its hard to imagine a world where Kusher doesn’t earn himself another nomination.

Other crew members that are no strangers to working with Spielberg include two-time Academy Award winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (“Schindler’s List” “Saving Private Ryan”) and production designer Adam Stockhausen who worked on “Bridge of Spies.”

Below are some of the released images for the upcoming “West Side Story.” The full catalog of images can be found here on Vanity Fair.

By Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Studios.
By Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Studios.

“West Side Story” hits theaters on Dec. 18, 2020, and will be distributed by 20th Century Studios.

Are you excited for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of this beloved musical? Let us know in the comments below!