Something's coming, and it's Ansel Elgort in a musical role. Although the 24-year-old has played charming young men before in films like The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver, his latest upcoming project has "lovable teen" written all over it. Ansel Elgort will star in the West Side Story remake, and while the Jets got their way first thanks to this announcement, musical fans are still waiting for who will be the new Maria to Elgort's Tony.
After debuting on Broadway in 1957, the musical West Side Story was then adapted for a 1961 film starring Richard Beymer as Tony, a member of a white New York City gang called the Jets. At a community dance, he meets and quickly falls for Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of a rival gang leader whose group, the Sharks, is filled with Puerto Rican immigrants. The gangs' rivalry drives a wedge between Tony and Maria, but they are determined to be together regardless of what their friends and families think. Based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the bittersweet love story is often deemed one of musical theatre's finest, and following the recent revitalization of movie musicals, it's only right that another version of West Side Story is the next to hit the big screen.
Now headlining the remake directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, Elgort is the only cast member announced for the project so far. Having attended performing arts schools in New York, he's no stranger to theater, and although he's released some of his own electronic music, proof of his natural singing is few and far between on the internet. In a 2017 appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, he briefly participated in a riff-off with Corden and Jamie Foxx, delivering some pure vocals that prove Tony is in good hands. Now how can we get a look at his dancing skills?
As for who Elgort will sing the adoring "Maria" to, the casting of the female lead is still a mystery. Filming of the remake reportedly doesn't start until next summer, so the production team has plenty of time until a decision has to be finalized. Seeing as the team picked such an established star to play Tony, it would make sense for the same to happen with the selection of a Maria. Twitter certainly has its favorites for who should take over the role. Camila Cabello, where you at?
Definitely prioritizing a cast who can truly sing and dance, 20th Century Fox also recently held an open dance call to find members of the Sharks and the Jets. The call asked for dancers between the ages of 15 and 25 and specified that white Jets and Latinx Sharks were needed, so fingers crossed for dancers who aren't 30 years old and pretending to be teenagers. The dance call followed another open casting call in April for the movie's principal roles, but it looks like Spielberg favors big-name stars rather than newcomers for the film's main characters.
Here's to seeing Elgort take on "Tonight" with his leading lady when West Side Story hits theaters.