I love the 1961 film, West Side Story. So did the critics and everyone else, as it won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress for Rita Moreno, who played Anita.
I loved this film so much that I dreaded the Steven Spielberg remake. The last thing we needed was a mashup of Indiana Jones and the Sharks.
And I was wrong. Spielberg’s version is (dare I say it) better. And I learned some things about change and what it can do for us. Here’s what I learned.
The Way Others Did It Isn’t Always the Best.
I didn’t want any changes to the original film because I loved it. But it turns out there were massive flaws. They hired actors, not singers, and Marni Nixon dubbed star Natalie Wood’s songs. George Chakiris, who played Bernardo in the film was actually of Greek descent and played Riff in London. To make the actors appear Puerto Rican, everyone wore brownface makeup–including Puerto Rican Moreno! That needed a change, in a big way.
Spielberg hired Latinos for all Puerto Rican parts. He also hired singers. Rachel Zegler, who played Maria, is not only a singer, this is her first film part ever. No dubbing for Zegler.
To keep reading, click here: Five Business Lessons from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story