English-speaking, monolingual moviegoers might not be able to take in West Side Story all at once.
Director Steven Spielberg opted out of Spanish subtitles for certain scenes so he would not give "English the power over the Spanish." The film, which premieres Friday, features an all-Hispanic cast for the Sharks gang.
"That was very important, and that goes hand-in-hand with my reasoning for not subtitling the Spanish," he said. "If I subtitled the Spanish, I’d simply be doubling down on the English and giving English the power over the Spanish. This was not going to happen in this film, I needed to respect the language enough not to subtitle it."
SEVERAL MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES BAN WEST SIDE STORY OVER TRANSGENDER CHARACTER PLAYED BY NONBINARY ACTOR
Spielberg made the choice "out of respect for the inclusivity of our intentions to hire a totally Latinx cast to play the Sharks' boys and girls," he told IGN.
"Latinx" is not a highly favored term among Hispanic American voters, a national poll conducted in November found. Only 2% identify as such, whereas 68% identify as Hispanic, 21% as Latina or Latino, and 8% as something else.
Forty percent of respondents said the term "Latinx" bothers or offends them, according to the survey.
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The film, an adaptation of the 1961 film based on the 1957 musical, is already banned in several mid-Eastern countries over concerns of pro-LGBT views. An actor who identifies as nonbinary plays a transgender character, who in the 1961 film was cast as a female tomboy.