‘West Side Story’ Drops New Trailer — & Ariana DeBose is The One to Watch

Lead Photo: Photo by Niko Tavernise.
Photo by Niko Tavernise.
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20th Century Studios has released a new trailer for the West Side Story remake by Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg and the anticipation couldn’t be higher.

The trailer opens with newcomer Rachel Zegler, who plays the main character of Maria Vasquez, looking into the night sky from a New York City apartment. She begins to sing the classic song, “Tonight,” from the original musical.

Maria has never been to NYC before and she is looking for happiness in America. That happiness could come in the form of Tony (Ansel Elgort), a young teen she meets at a dance, who is a member of the Jets, a gang that rivals her brother’s gang, the Sharks. When her brother disapproves of their relationship, tensions flare between the groups as Maria and Tony search for a way to be together while a local race war spills into the streets.

“If you go with him, no one will ever forgive you,” says actress Ariana DeBose’s character Anita, who was originally played by Rita Moreno in an Oscar-winning role. Moreno also returns for the remake, this time as a new character, Valentina, the owner of a local bodega where Tony works. “Life matters, even more than love,” Moreno’s character tells Tony in one scene.

DeBose shined throughout the trailer and fans didn’t wait long to talk about her capturing performance just from the preview — while also predicting her award season success as of now. “Ariana DeBose winning Best Supporting Actress next year is most pleasing to me,” said one Twitter user, while another wrote, “Ariana debose is coming for that oscar holy [expletive].” 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, DeBose previously spoke on how she was able to look at the role from her own experiences as an Afro-Latina. “I’m Afro-Latina and I said to [Spielberg], ‘As a woman of color, if you’re going to consider me for this role, I would potentially be the darkest woman to play her onscreen,’” DeBose says. “There’s also the reality that it’s a period piece and there’s racial tension. In one way, you’re not really sure if Anita’s African American or if she’s Latina. I was like, ‘I think there’s really something to lean into, if that’s of value,’ and he was intrigued by that observation. It was fun from the jump to feel like I was contributing to his new vision in a way.”

Along with the new trailer, a new poster was revealed featuring the silhouettes of Maria and Tony standing on a NYC building rooftop holding hands and facing each other. The title West Side Story is projected in light on the wall.

West Side Story Poster
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios
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Spielberg, of course, has some big shoes to fill. The original movie won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. But if anyone can do it, it’s probably the guy who made dinosaurs come to life, made audiences cry for an outer space alien, and made people terrified to go into the ocean.

West Side Story debuts in theaters on December 10.