Director Steven Spielberg’s new film about the hit musical West Side Story will not be shown in the Gulf States. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the film is boycotted by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.
Disney, which is releasing the film worldwide, refused to adapt scenes from the film that required censorship in those countries. Presumably, these requirements relate to the character Anybodys, who is transgender in the new version. The role is played by non-binary actress Iris Menas. Homosexuality is banned in these states, as are films featuring overt LGBTI characters.
The West Side Story is a contemporary adaptation of the story of Romeo and Juliet. The musical tells the story of two young people from rival gangs, Tony and Maria, who fall in love. First performed on Broadway in 1957, the play received six Tony nominations at the time. The ensuing 1961 film, starring Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood, won ten Oscars.
The main roles in the new version are played by Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler. Spielberg and his production team wanted the roles of Puerto Rican immigrants to be played by actors of Latin American descent. The film can be seen in Dutch cinemas from Thursday.
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