Steven Spielberg is considering directing a Leonard Bernstein biopic after he finishes production on the as-yet untitled Indiana Jones 5. The filmmaker is currently deciding on which project he wants to tackle after reuniting with Harrison Ford for one final adventure as the iconic bullwhip-swinging archaeologist. A fresh adaptation/remake of the musical West Side Story is another option that Spielberg is mulling over at the moment, but hasn’t committed to making just yet.
Spielberg is famous for directing movies back to back, with one typically being a big-budget tentpole and the other a smaller historical drama of sorts. He’s done just that on several occasions now, going back to Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in the early 1990s. Most recently, the filmmaker completed principal photography on his Ernest Cline adaptation Ready Player One, then set to work shooting the true story journalism drama The Post shortly after. Now that post-production on Ready Player One is all finished, Spielberg is actively looking at projects that he could shoot immediately after filming wraps on the next Indiana Jones installment.
Variety is reporting that Spielberg held a (not so) top-secret table read with a group of undisclosed A-listers for the Bernstein biopic this week. However, according to the site’s sources, this is a different project than the Bernstein biopic that Josh Singer (who cowrote The Post) scripted for Paramount. Another source for the site further cautions that Spielberg often does read-throughs for scripts that strike his interest, but which he ultimately passes on directing.
Although Spielberg has already hired a casting director and sent out a casting call to actors of Puerto Rican descent for West Side Story, he’s not yet officially set to helm the movie. Much like frequent Spielberg collaborator David Koepp is writing Indiana Jones 5, the West Side Story remake is being scripted by Spielberg’s Munich and Lincoln writer, Tony Kushner. However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of the filmmaker handing the project off to someone else – as he did just this week, when he hand-picked Michael Bay to direct Robopocalypse, a sci-fi novel adaptation that Spielberg was long attached to.
The Leonard Bernstein biopic would be the less surprising pick for Spielberg, given his history of shooting period dramas right after big-budget projects. At the same time, a musical is not something that Spielberg has ever tried his hand at before, making West Side Story the more intriguing choice of the two. Clearly, the filmmaker has Bernstein on the brain right now; the composer also wrote the music for West Side Story, with Stephen Sondheim penning the lyrics. So, unless something else suddenly grabs his attention, it seems safe to assume that Spielberg has narrowed his picks of Indiana Jones 5 followups down to two.
We will continue to keep you posted on all Spielberg-related projects as the details come our way.
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