Rita Moreno Joins Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Rita Moreno attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, Calif.

The actress, who won an Oscar for the 1959 original film, will also be an executive producer on the remake.

Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her performance in 1959’s West Side Story, is putting on her dancing shoes to return to the streets of New York.

The actress has signed on to join the cast of Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, and will also be an executive producer on the film.

An adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, the Romeo-and-Juliet-like story, tells of the star-crossed love between Tony, a former member of the white gang known as the Jets, and Maria, the younger sister of the leader of a Puerto Rican gang.

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.


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