In the original, Moreno played Anita, the best friend of Maria, who was portrayed by Natalie Wood. Anita sang the signature song “America.”
In the new West Side, Moreno is playing Valentina, a re-conceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony, played by Elgort, works.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said Moreno in a statement. “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!”
Stated Spielberg: “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.”
Morena, repped by Innovative Artists currently stars in the Latino remake of One Day at a Time, which streams on Netflix. She is an EGOT, part of rare breed of unicorn performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony.
Filming for West Side is set to begin in the summer of 2019.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.