Famed musical West Side Story is getting another film adaptation, and Steven Spielberg is going to be directing this new version of the classic musical. The original West Side Story movie came out in 1961, starring Richard Beymer as Tony the Jet (a role now filled by Ansel Elgort) and white actress Natalie Wood as Puerto Rican-born Maria. When 20th Century Fox and Amblin Entertainment announced a new take on the story by Arthur Laurents (with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), hope persisted that the upcoming film wouldn’t be inundated with white-washing like the 60’s version.
Fortunately, we’ve heard good news about the new film’s casting, because Deadline Hollywood just reported that Rita Moreno has been cast as Valentina. Not only is Moreno a Puerto Rican native, but she is an EGOT winner who has been regarded as an amazing triple threat. In the original film, Moreno played the role of Anita, which earned her a well-deserved Oscar. It will be wonderfully nostalgic to see Moreno appearing in Spielberg’s production.
Filming for the remake is set to begin sometime in the summer of 2019, so hopefully more news on the casting front will come out soon. Maybe if we are lucky Chita Rivera, the actress who famously played Anita in the Broadway production, will be cast in this new version of West Side Story.