Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Disney's not crazy about all the dang smoking in Spielberg's West Side Story remake

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

Disney’s tendril-y absorption of 20th Century Fox continues to have odd knock-on effects for the entertainment industry as a whole, even those parts of it that are normally considered sacrosanct. Like, say, Hollywood royalty Steven Spielberg, whose latest obsession—besides his recently-backed-off-of feud with Netflix, at least—has been an upcoming remake of West Side Story. True to the original play (and the Oscar-winning 1961 film adaptation), Spielberg’s movie will apparently see the Sharks and the Jets engage in all sorts of anti-social behavior, fighting, stabbing each other, and—in that most dire of cinematic sins—smoking on camera, because who’s going to tell Steven Spielberg not to include stuff like that in his movies?

So anyway, Disney has apparently been telling Steven Spielberg not to include stuff like that in his movies, or at least the ones the studio intends to distribute for itself. See, Spielberg was developing West Side Story at Fox, and now Disney owns Fox, and so suddenly the corporate megagiant is being forced to put its big, fleshy pseudopod down on the topic of lighting up on-screen. (The stabbings are still apparently cool.)

Advertisement

This is per THR, which is reporting on the wider state of Fox’s slate of films as it trundles merrily into Mickey’s all-consuming mega-maw. For a lot of movies (especially those without an easily proven franchise track record) that means outright cancellation. And even Spielberg apparently isn’t immune to notes. But while our own personal compromise of choice— “I love to vape in America, rip cotton hard in America!”—probably won’t make the cut, there is a more elegant solution supposedly in the works. Although it killed off the Fox 2000 label shortly after the acquisition, and announced that Fox as an entity will be releasing far fewer films on its watch, Disney still has plans for the 20th Century Fox brand as a whole. It’s potentially viewing the studio as a place to release movies like West Side Story, filled as they are with objectionable material like the existence of smoking in 1950s America.

Share This Story