Original WEST SIDE STORY Actress Rita Moreno Has Joined Steven Spielberg's Remake

Rita Moreno won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing the character Anita in the 1961 film West Side Story. The actress has now been invited back to take on a new role in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s musical. It’s also been revealed that she will be an executive producer on the film.

According to Deadline, in this new version of West Side Story, Moreno will be playing Valentina, “a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works.”

The actress had this to say in a statement:

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work. And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling!  Then to work together with the brilliant playwright, Tony Kushner – what a glorious stew! I am tingling!”

 Steven Spielberg added:

“From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production. Her Anita is one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed, and a personal favorite of mine. We created an original role for her, and we feel beyond fortunate that Rita will bring her extraordinary gifts as an actress, as well as her deep understanding of ‘West Side Story’ to this production as an executive producer.”

This latest West Side Story adaptation was written by Oscar nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (Lincoln, Munich). The story was originally written by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim with music by Leonard Bernstein.

Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort will take on the lead role of Tony in the movie and I think that he’s going to be great. No other casting has been announced.

Filming for West Side Story is set to begin in the summer of 2019. This is one of my favorite musicals and I’m pretty excited to see what Spielberg’s vision for it is.

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