There is one school of thought that believes that if you’re going to remake a movie, it’s best to choose something that isn’t widely beloved, that wasn’t a huge success. Pick an idea that wasn’t perfected the first time, the thinking goes, so you can make it better this time.

Steven Spielberg, it seems, does not subscribe to this school of thought.

The casting announcement below, shared by Mark Harris, husband of playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, confirms that Spielberg is about to embark on one of the more ambitious remakes in recent memory: A new version of West Side Story, the 1961 musical directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins that won ten Academy Awards including the Oscar for Best Picture. The original film was based on the hit Broadway musical of the same name, a then-current update of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York City.

Here’s the tweet with the open casting call, which recycles the classic West Side Story poster artwork:

West Side Story is one of the most beloved musicals in film history; again, Spielberg isn’t making things easy on himself. But I would imagine that’s part of the point. Spielberg’s dabbled in so many genres over the years, but not the musical. This is his chance to try his hand at it. And if you’re gonna try, you might as well try for something big. Working with Kushner, a Broadway veteran who also wrote the screenplay for Spielberg’s terrific Lincoln, is a major plus as well. The whole thing sounds rather ... cool. (like, you know, the song, “Cool.” From West Side Story. Okay, I’ll see myself out.)

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