Steven Spielberg Made a Conscious Decision Not to Include Subtitles in West Side Story

After much anticipation, the West Side Story remake is officially hitting theaters on Dec. 10. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film centers on Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria. While the movie is a reimagining of the 1961 classic, Spielberg’s remake does away with the harmful stereotypes of Latinxs portrayed in the original. Spielberg also made the conscious decision not to include subtitles for the Spanish dialogue “out of respect for the inclusivity of our intentions to hire a totally Latinx cast to play the Sharks’ boys and girls.”

In an interview with IGN, the director explained that he gave casting director Cindy Tolan a “mandate” that he “wasn’t going to entertain any auditions that aren’t parents or grandparents or themselves from Latinx countries.” He added, “Especially Puerto Rico, we looked a lot in Puerto Rico, we have 20 performers in our film from Puerto Rico or they’re Nuyorican.”

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