West Side Story crew reacts to film ban in Gulf countries – The Hollywood Reporter


Earlier this week, Hollywood journalist confirmed that Steven Spielberg West Side Story adaptation will not be projected in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman or Kuwait. Sources cited Gulf nations’ opposition to the character Anybodys, written as transgender in the new version and played by non-binary actor Iris Menas.

At the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday, with the big-budget event shutting down Hollywood Boulevard, the West Side Story The team reacted to the news, which came after Disney refused to make the requested cuts.

“I think we have to remember that during [William] In Shakespeare’s time, in the heyday, the Puritans came in and demolished all the theaters. You couldn’t go to the theater, and yet Shakespeare survived, ”producer Kevin McCollum said. THR. “So, being a film that exists in the world, it might try to be stopped in certain places, but it will be found. I believe that love will win, and it is a love story, made with love. , and what happens when you try to stop people from loving freely.

“I think we did our job as artists to make this film, and the world will find out even if some cultures decide they don’t want it within their borders,” he continued, adding: “This film will overcome any border as it will show.

Co-star David Alvarez (Bernardo) also weighed in, saying, “It’s kinda sad that this still exists in the world, and I think that’s why movies like this are so important. This movie has so many different messages and layers that really resonate with people all over the world. “

The musical, which arrives 60 years after the original film, stars Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, Rita Moreno and Alvarez in the classic tale of forbidden love and the rivalry between two New Street gangs. York.

“It was born out of a love story of honoring the theater and trying to capture a film that reflects today with like-minded thoughts about the difficulty of loving when you are taught to hate,” said McCollum on the update. “That’s why, hopefully, this movie has butterfly wings to change people’s belief systems. We are all in the same boat on this planet, and love is what leads, which is why we sing.

The 2021 version also stands out for its authentic portrayal of Latinx, reinforced by Spielberg’s decision not to caption the Spanish-speaking moments in the film.

“I think that’s genius,” Alvarez said of the director’s approach. “It’s a sign of respect for the Spanish language. It’s spoken by a third of the world, and I think it’s really revolutionary what he did, and I’m so grateful that he has that kind of respect. And that speaks for the whole process – [he had] so much care and respect in trying to bring authenticity to West Side Story. “

Actor Mike Faist (Riff) added, “How many people live in this country who struggle with English and then they go to see movies, and they just feel left out and left out. So the fact that they don’t have to feel like other people, they can feel like they’re a part of it, that’s really great. He continued, “It’s very real for what America is.”

Since its New York premiere on November 30, the film has also been carried by a wave of enthusiastic reviews and Oscar buzz, which co-star Josh Andres Rivera (Chino) says is welcome after its release. was delayed for a year amid COVID. -19 pandemic.

“It’s been two years since we filmed it, and in our brains it existed as the most magical thing ever, and then we had to walk away from it for a long time with everything – you remember the pandemic ? “, He joked. “Now rediscovering it that way with the same people we did it with was so magical, and hearing the outpouring of support was amazing.”

West Side Story hits theaters on Friday.


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