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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‘Big Little Lies’ star Zoe Kravitz to take on the role of Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’

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Zoe Kravitz
DIA DIPASUPIL/GETTY IMAGES

Zoe Kravitz is headed to Gotham as the Big Little Lies star has been set to play the iconic role of Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, Silver Screen Beat has learned.

Kravitz joins a cast that already includes the likes of Robert Pattinson as the titular Caped Crusader, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, and Jonah Hill as the yet-to-be-named villain. Reeves is expected to round out the rest of the cast before the year’s end in anticipation of an early 2020 production start.

Other actresses including Ana de Armas, Ella Balinska, and Eiza Gonzalez went through what was described as a “rigorous testing process,” for the role of Catwoman last month, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but it was ultimately Kravitz — who read opposite Pattinson — that was seen as the right fit for the job.

Reeves, who first boarded The Batman in early 2017 following the unsurprising departure of Ben Affleck, is directing the film from a script he wrote, in addition to producing along with his Planet of the Apes collaborator Dylan Clark.

Kravitz, still riding high off a well-reviewed performance in HBO’s second season of the star-studded drama Big Little Lies this past summer, can be seen next in Hulu’s High Fidelity, which is due out later this year.

The Batman is slated to be released by Warner Bros. June 25, 2021.

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Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt set sail on an Amazonian adventure in Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ trailer

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Jungle Cruise
DISNEY

Disney has released the first trailer for Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt‘s Jungle Cruise, which finds the beloved Disneyland ride of the same name brought to life in the vein of such films as Indiana Jones and The African Queen.

The film, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, follows a charismatic riverboat captain (Johnson) and a determined explorer on a research mission (Blunt) as they set sail on an adventure-filled expedition through the Amazon-jungle in hopes of finding a tree that is believed to possess healing powers.

“We were just so moved, so honored to be in a movie like this because we both grew up just madly in love with Indiana Jones and obsessed with those kinds of movies,” Blunt said at the D23 Expo in August. “To be part of something like this, with this same spirit, makes my heart race.”

Added Johnson, “We wanted to make a movie that was big, that was epic, that had romance, big comedy, big action. But most important; it’s got me.”

In addition to Johnson and Blunt, the film’s ensemble cast also includes Jack Whitehall, Edgar Ramirez, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.

John Davis, John Fox, Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia, and Beau Flynn produced the film, with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer.

Jungle Cruise will sail into theaters on July 24, 2020.

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Disney-Pixar’s ‘Onward’ trailer finds Tom Holland, Chris Pratt summoning their dead father’s legs

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Onward
DISNEY/PIXAR

Disney and Pixar have released a new trailer for Onward, the upcoming animated feature starring Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic out there.

And by magic, we’re talking like actual, literal magic. Set in a suburban fantasy world, Onward follows Ian and Barley as they try to summon their dead father back to life. Having never encountered magic before, though, the spell doesn’t completely work and only summons half their father — the bottom half, that is.

So, with their dad’s legs in tow, the boys set out on a road trip to try to find out how to bring the rest of him back to life, encountering all sorts of creatures, magical spells, and mysterious lands along the way.

The film, which was directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, features a star-studded voice cast that also includes the likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Ian and Barely’s mom, Laurel Lightfoot, and Octavia Spencer as the voice of the Manticore.

Onward will hit theaters on March 6, 2020.

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