Steven Spielberg Explains Why He Wanted ‘West Side Story’ To Be His First Movie Musical

Steven Spielberg is a master of many genres: action, horror, science-fiction, horse. But it took until West Side Story for the director to make a full-blown musical (the fantastic opening sequence in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is exactly that — only a sequence). Why did it take so long, and why did he choose to tell the story of Tony and Maria? He explained both in a new featurette for the film.

“I have been challenged by what would be the right musical to take on. And I could never forget my childhood,” Spielberg said in the video (which you can watch above). “I was 10 years old when I first listened to the West Side Story album, and it never went away. I’ve been able to fulfill that dream and keep that promise that I made to myself: You must make West Side Story.” 10-Year-Old Stevie must be thrilled that 74-Year-Old Steven kept his promise… and made some sick dinosaur movies along the way.

West Side Story stars Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as María in the classic story of star-crossed lovers and rival gangs. The rest of the cast includes Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Brian d’Arcy James, Corey Stoll, and Rita Moreno, who appeared in the 1961 Best Picture winner. It comes out on December 10.