Steven Spielberg Says West Side Story Is Like A Dream Come True

West Side Story Updates: There are just a few films left to see that are allegedly in contention for the Best Picture award this year, and Steven Spielberg’s Christmas-themed version of West Side Story, penned by Angels in America author Tony Kushner, is towards the top of that list.

What we’ve seen so far points to a potential remake of the iconic musical: Rachel Zegler appears to be the newest celebrity to emerge, and have you seen her cocktail dresses? You, Mr. Spielberg, are a sartorial saint! Now, in an exclusive interview with Empire, the Hollywood great reveals some of the behind-the-scenes labor that went into recreating one of the original film’s most memorable scenes: the school dance.

The sequence of the Sharks entering the gym, shot in a “long, intricate, single-take shot,” required a helluva lot of coordination to “move the camera (and himself) about in the way Spielberg envisioned,” according to Spielberg. He goes on to say:

“The camera was on a Spidercam rig. […] The oner was very hard to achieve because everything is timed to the beat. You can’t be a note off in either direction.”

The article also included a beautiful new set shot of Spielberg, who is dressed head to toe in a gorgeous aqua outfit (see?). Sartorial. Saint!) – hard at work calculating the angle of a shot.

What Steven Spielberg Shares About West Side Story?

New York Post

As Empire points out, the filmmaker is no stranger to long takes, citing the drinking battle in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Helen Hirsch’s monologue in Schindler’s List, but what about some of the longer landscape views in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? (Okay, these aren’t long taken, but that movie doesn’t exactly use a quick cutting rate, especially in the last act.) Regardless, it’ll be interesting to watch how the film veteran brings it all together. This sequence was also revealed to be Zegler’s first with Spielberg, marking her collaborative debut. Consider the pressure. As she puts it:

“That was my first-day shooting; it was terrifying. […] Steven wanted it to feel like it could actually happen while still keeping that dreamy aspect. It turns into a little bit of a mating dance. It’s a really sweet moment under the smelly bleachers at a gym.”

Yes, in the shadow of the nasty gym benches, that old, traditional spot for all of life’s happiest moments. They were probably handing out clothing pegs.

Take a look at the snapshot of the set below. On December 10, West Side Story will be released in theatres. Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll, and Brian d’Arcy James all feature, with EGOT-winner and original Rita Moreno providing a supporting role.

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