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Steven Spielberg Explains Why 'West Side Story' Doesn't Have Subtitles for Spanish Dialogue

Steven Spielberg Explains Why 'West Side Story' Doesn't Have Subtitles for Spanish Dialogue

The remake of the classic movie musical West Side Story is now in theaters and director Steven Spielberg is opening up about why he decided to not include subtitles for the Spanish dialogue.

Most of the film is spoken and sung in English, but the Latinx characters speak in Spanish for some moments and none of the dialogue has subtitles.

Click inside to find out what Steven Spielberg said…

Spielberg explained how he mandated that he “wasn’t going to entertain any auditions that aren’t parents or grandparents or themselves from Latinx countries… Especially Puerto Rico, we looked a lot in Puerto Rico, we have 20 performers in our film from Puerto Rico or they’re Nuyorican.”

“That was very important and that goes hand-in-hand with my reasoning for not subtitling the Spanish,” he added in his interview with IGN. “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.”

Spielberg also talked about the decision in another interview.

“I don’t know if anybody really questioned it, I don’t remember anybody saying you’ve got to subtitle it,” he told Digital Spy. “I felt that subtitling the Spanish was disrespectful to the second language of this country.”

“It would make English the dominant language because then there would be two being spoken: the English by the characters speaking and the English that would [be written] underneath the spoken Spanish words,” Steven continued. “It was out of complete respect to give dignity where dignity is earned and deserved to be given.”

Find out what the critics are saying about the movie.

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Photos: 20th Century Studios
Posted to: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

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