Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' wraps filming - Silver Screen Beat
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Steven Spielberg pens heartfelt letter paying tribute to ‘West Side Story’ as filming wraps

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West Side Story
20TH CENTURY FOX

In a heartfelt letter posted to Twitter by 20th Century Fox on Tuesday, Steven Spielberg revealed that his adaptation of West Side Story wrapped production last week and paid tribute to his cast, crew, and the residents of New York and Paterson, where the film had been shooting since June.

“This has been a journey without precedence: a joyful, stunningly moving, endlessly surprising encounter with the story and score of one of the world’s greatest musicals,” Spielberg wrote. “My brilliantly talented, fiercely committed, generous and apparently inexhaustible cast and crew of hundreds have given our film everything they’ve got, and I can already say the film we’ll be releasing on December 18, 2020 owes everything to them, as does its immensely grateful director.”

He continued, “And while I’m on the subject of gratitude: One every day of the past four years during which we’ve been preparing, casting, imagining West Side Story, I and my team, cast, and crew have been walking in the footsteps of our giants: Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim. For the light they’ve shed on the world, for Stephen Sondheim’s insight, guidance, and support, and for the openhearted support of the Bernstein, Laurents, and Robbins estates, I owe more than I can possibly express.”

Tony Kushner adapted the screenplay for West Side Story from the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Robbins, Bernstein, Sondheim, and Laurents. The film’s cast includes Ansel Elgort as Tony, Rachel Zegler as Maria, Ariana DeBose as Anita, Ana Isabelle as Rosalia, Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank, Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, Curtiss Cook as Abe, and Rita Moreno — who won an Oscar for her role as Anita in Robert Wise’s 1961 adaptation of the play — as Valentina.

Kevin McCollum and Kristie Macosko Krieger are producing the film for 20th Century Fox along with Spielberg for Amblin Entertainment. Walt Disney Studios, which acquired Fox’s film and TV assets as part of a massive $71.3 billion deal earlier this year, will handle distribution.

You can read Spielberg’s letter in full below.

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Matt Damon is reteaming with his ‘Ford v Ferrari’ director James Mangold for ‘The Force’

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Matt Damon The Force
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Nearly 14 years after starring in Martin Scorsese‘s brilliant Infernal Affairs remake The Departed, Matt Damon is set to head back into crooked cop movie territory with his Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold.

According to Deadline, Damon is attached to play the lead role of Denny Malone in Mangold’s adaptation of Don Winslow’s 2017 best-selling novel The Force, which is a pretty damn good read if you haven’t gotten around to it yet.

In the book, Malone — a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant — is the dirtiest of dirty cops, having stolen millions of dollars worth of cash and narcotics in the wake of one of the biggest heroin busts in the history of New York City.

Little does Malone know, though, that the feds are hot on his tail “and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the job, his family and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all,” as the book’s official synopsis puts it.

David Mamet wrote and turned in the first draft of the script for The Force in 2017, but Mangold is currently in the middle of a rewrite with his Logan collaborator Scott Frank, so I suppose we’ll see how that turns out.

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Production begins on Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’ starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett

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Guillermo del Toro Nightmare Alley Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Production is officially underway on Guillermo del Toro’s star-studded new project Nightmare Alley, which features one hell of an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in the leading roles.

An adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley follows Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Cooper), a young and ambitious con man who teams up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) for a mentalist act, only to realize that she’s even more corrupt than he is.

Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, David Strathairn, Jim Beaver, and Mark Povinelli round out the film’s cast, with del Toro alumni such as Ron Perlman and Richard Jenkins also said to be in talks to join.

Leonardo DiCaprio was initially supposed to play Cooper’s role but was forced to bow out earlier this year as production on Nightmare Alley would’ve conflicted with that of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which stars DiCaprio alongside Robert De Niro and is expected to begin shooting in the spring.

No word yet on when Searchlight Pictures plans on releasing Nightmare Alley, but stay tuned for more info on that.

Excited to start shooting today on our new adventure NIGHTMARE ALLEY with @RealGDT and many of our regular gang. pic.twitter.com/lzPHhXpppI

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Phoenix: Warner Bros. invites you to an advance screening of Cathy Yan’s ‘Birds of Prey’

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Birds of Prey screening
WARNER BROS.

Warner Bros. will release Birds of Prey on February 7 and it’s giving Silver Screen Beat readers in Phoenix a chance to attend an advance screening of the film before it officially opens in theaters.

Our readers in Phoenix can click on this link right now to enter to free passes — good for you and one guest — to attend an advance screening of Birds of Prey happening at Harkins Arizona Mills IMAX on Wednesday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Winners for this contest will be selected and notified on Monday, February 3 via email. Good luck! Below is the official trailer for Birds of Prey as well as some additional details about the film.

Directed by: Cathy Yan

Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, and Ewan McGregor

Opens: Friday, February 7

Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material

Synopsis: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.

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