The premiere of West Side Story was initially set for 2020, but the COVID-19 crisis caused it to be delayed for a whole year while waiting for the situation in theaters to improve … and, perhaps, the accusation of one of its members would lose steam. interpreters for sexual abuse. Ansel Elgort stars in this new version of the 1957 musical (which was already made into the cinema in the 60s with great public and critical success), being its main star alongside Rita Moreno (who won the Oscar for the previous film version), of way that some would think that this accusation could have sunk the film. You don’t have to go far to think about a project to which this has actually happened.
Letitia Wright en ‘Black Panther’
Death on the Nile has in its cast Letitia Wright (declared anti-vaccines that has put the filming of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in trouble) and Armie Hammer , and due to what happened with the latter in recent months she has been eliminated from the Disney calendar . The actor of Call Me By Your Name starred in rumors on account of an alleged cannibalism so that they later increased in severity, and accusations of abuse and rape were wielded that have mobilized police investigations. Nowadays Hammer has completely withdrawn from the public attention, but the same has not happened with Elgort, without West Side Story being affected.
At least, in a serious way. On December 8, Elgort attended The Late Late Show with James Corden , where he shared his passion for the classical musical and remembered Stephen Sondheim , West Side Story lyricist who passed away a couple of weeks ago. The interview went smoothly, but according to Adam B. Vary in Variety this did not fit the YouTube comments. “Everyone who has allowed this to happen should be extremely disgusted with themselves.” “” Hollywood has waited a year hoping that everyone will forget to bring Ansel back to Hollywood. Do you think we are stupid? ” . “What about the accusations against Ansel?”
Obviously, people have not forgotten what happened. On June 19, 2020 , a woman claimed on Twitter that the actor had sexually assaulted her when she was 17 and he was 20. They had both exchanged messages on Snapchat before meeting in person: “I was just a girl and I was a fan of him, ” the woman wrote. “So when it happened, instead of wondering if I wanted to have sex knowing it was my first time and that I was sobbing in pain and didn’t want to do it, the only words that came out of his mouth were ‘we have to tame you.’
The tweets were, of course, viral, and Elgort turned to Instagram to clarify what happened. The actor affirmed that they had a “brief, legal and totally consensual relationship” , but that he did not behave too well when he decided to break up with her, ghosting her . Something that “was immature and cruel on his part” , but in any case Elgort insisted that “his description of the events is simply not what happened. I have never attacked or would attack anyone ” . Shortly after, the woman deleted the tweet and closed the account, while Elgort also deleted her post from Instagram.
The elephant in the room
The accusations against Elgort as a sexual aggressor did not stop there, but in the following months several women assured in social networks that the actor had made inappropriate proposals to them when they were minors. They attached screenshots supporting these claims, but the controversy never went beyond the internet. No investigations were launched, no more details of what happened, and Elgort did not use his Twitter profile again, although he has occasionally posted content on Instagram.
Time has passed, but the producers seem to be aware of Elgort’s troubled image. The actor, turned into a star thanks to Baby Driver and The Fault in Our Stars , has not stopped working in the months since the accusations, taking part in the filming of Tokyo Vice (a series destined for HBO Max and developed by Michael Mann and Destin Daniel Cretton ) for once the premiere of West Side Story was approaching to join the press tour . All after, in view of how little it appeared in the trailers of Steven Spielberg’s film, there were those who thought that Disney and 20th Century Studios had set out to make one forget that Elgort starred in it.
Photo of ‘West Side Story’
Taking into account that Elgort is present in the promotion clearly the strategy does not give more of itself, but there are some interesting nuances. Although the actor has gone to the aforementioned show of James Corden , alongside other appearances on The Drew Barrymore Show , the show of the American Music Awards and self premiere of West Side Story in New York, we must repair all these interventions have been tightly controlled. All of Elgort’s interviews have been in a group with other members of the team, and he has not starred in profiles, in-depth interviews or podcast recordings, where it would be easier to be asked about the accusations.
The actor has not made reference to what happened last summer, and has kept a low profile during the promotion of his film. Something has helped that West Side Story has grabbed the headlines due to other factors, such as its ban in Saudi Arabia, Spielberg’s refusal to subtitle the dialogues in Spanish or, in the last hours, the great collapse of the film at the box office American. It remains to be seen if in the next few weeks the controversy of Elgort breaks out in any way, or Disney manages to do damage control so that there is no news about it again.
West Side Story opens in Spain this December 22 .