No need to get your reading glasses to watch Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaption of “West Side Story.”
The musical won’t be using any English subtitles during scenes where Spanish dialogue is spoken.
The Oscar-winning director recently addressed the lack of subtitles and defended his decision for not using them.
“I don’t know if anybody really questioned it. I don’t remember anybody saying ‘You’ve got to subtitle it,’” the 74-year-old told Digital Spy. “I felt that subtitling the Spanish was disrespectful to the second language of this country.”
The “Jaws” filmmaker continued, “It would make English the dominant language, because then there would be two being spoken: the English by the characters speaking and the English that would [be written] underneath the spoken Spanish words.”
It’s worth noting that the United States has no official language, but English and Spanish are tallied as the first- and second-most-widely spoken languages by Americans, with more than 41 million people in this country who regularly use the latter.
“It was out of complete respect, to give dignity where dignity is earned and deserved to be given,” Spielberg added.
Spielberg’s highly anticipated adaption of the 1957 Stephen Sondheim Broadway production hits theaters Friday. The film stars Ansel Elgort as Tony and newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria, star-crossed lovers in 1950s New York living under the shadows of racism and rivaling teenage gangs the Jets and the Sharks.
Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist and Corey Stoll also star. Rita Moreno, the scene-stealer of the 1961 “West Side Story” film, also makes an appearance.
Sondheim, who died on Nov. 26 at the age of 91, gave his blessing for this remake before his passing.
“[In] one of the last messages I received from him, he just gushed over the film,” Justin Peck, the movie’s choreographer, recently told Page Six.
Peck continued, “Stephen said to me, ‘On behalf of the original authors, we’re so proud of what this film is, and I’m so happy that it’s been made.’ That was all the feedback I ever needed … I know that he was happy with the film.”
Associate choreographer Patricia Delgado added that the Broadway visionary’s “powerful” presence could be felt as the cast and crew went to the premiere.
“He was really the only one alive [from the original production] to give us his blessing,” she said. “He’s contributed so much to all of us already … He lives in us.”